The Fourth of July is probably the best holiday of the year. It isn’t religious, but most people still get the day off (yesterday for me, since the holiday falls on a Saturday this year). The holiday commemorates something truly special–the ratification of the Declaration of Independence–and every American can enjoy it. (I love Thanksgiving almost as much, but that holiday can be especially hard on the poor and friendless.)
Plus, Independence Day is celebrated with fireworks.
Fireworks are awesome, and all year I look forward to seeing them. In Gainesville, a large fireworks display has generally been held on July 3 at Flavet Field on the University of Florida campus. I don’t know what the rationale was for scheduling the event the day before the actual national holiday. My theory has always been that it would allow Gainesvillians to enjoy two days of fireworks if they chose to drive to Jacksonville, St. Augustine or Ocala. WUFT, where I work, has been the host and sponsor of the Fanfares and Fireworks display for decades. Last year, however, budget cuts nearly caused the event to be canceled. An anonymous donor ponied up $30,000, though, and everyone rejoiced. We went with a bunch of friends and set up a blanket, listened to the Gainesville Community Band, and had a great time. This year, however, no savior stepped forward, and so, for the first time since I’ve lived here, there were no fireworks in Gainesville on July 3. (That’s not completely true: there were no firesworks in 1998, but that was because there was a county-wide burn ban, due to extensive wildfires.) Everyone was disappointed.
Last year, on Independence Day, we all spent the evening eating dinner, lighting firecrackers in the street, and playing Grand Theft Auto. Today, we went to a pool party at Demonomia‘s apartment, and later we’ll drive up to “downtown beautiful Alachua”, where there will be a fireworks display. Dick Cavett has a fine nostalgic tribute to fireworks in the New York Times today. Read it, and have a happy Independence Day.
God bless America.