Independence Day: Turning Down for What?

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Why you should care

Explosions in the sky for fun are fine, for real? Not so much.

Ah. It’s the Fourth of July. Independence Day. And sparklers, bottle rockets, Roman candles, cherry bombs and a whole passel of gun powdery love, cordite and exploding color are part and parcel of what any one of us might find thrilling about the day. It’s a day that, invariably, ends up being more cool than not.

Maybe because not everyone in your family, regardless of political affiliation, is chained to dinner tables. Maybe because we don’t have to think about exactly who Plymouth Rock landed on. So, because of that, or despite it, this is a holiday we dig and can feel OK about digging, even if Chuck D. once famously said about it, “If you heard we were celebrating, that’s a worldwide lie.”

But — yes, there’s always one of those — the joy killer in us wants to force not so much a reexamination but an examination, since lights in the sky and stuff streaking across the horizon mean different things in other places. And it even meant different things in this place in different times.

Which is to say … mock explosions have to, at least some of the time, remind you of real explosions. And the mockery references, both real and fun, that shoot into the sky above are underscored by what’s buried beneath our feet. The issue, then, has now totally changed and, more than ever, seems to ask another question: Can we remember and still have a good time?


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