A rant about Fireworks and Patriotism.

A little about patriotism and what it means to be an “American.”

My cousin, Tony, wrote the following on FB: “So many people on here bitching and complaining about the fireworks. Read on, then see if you want to keep whining… I understand you may get annoyed, it may bother your children or pets, and may keep you awake. Take 2 minutes and think about the reason we celebrate with them. ‘…the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air…’ Our soldiers are overseas right now hopefully living through these sounds, non-stop, day and night. Hoping to live through it.”

The following is my response. I felt I needed to share it, here, as well.

America was founded by a bunch of folks who no longer wanted to be controlled by a bunch of other folks who happened to live in Britain. So, after fighting for a year or so, they collectively woke up one day, and said, “You know – we’re done with this. We want our Independence.” Thus, on 04 July 1776, they wrote a little document we like to call the Declaration of [said] Independence. In it, they outlined an entire laundry list of reasons King George and the British were no longer appropriate stewards of the colonies. After the war ended, SEVEN years later, we were now an independent collection of sovereign states. Yay for us, right? :)

These new Americans fought, according to the Declaration, for the following self-evident truths: “. . . that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

THIS is America. This is why we are Americans. We fought, 235 years ago for the ideals that all men are created equal, and we have certain unalienable rights. NO WHERE in the Declaration, nor the Articles of confederation, nor the Constitution, is there a definition of Patriotism. Patriotism, as defined by experience and existence is the love and admiration for one’s country. An American patriot, therefore, BY DEFINITION loves his country and all on which it was founded. To celebrate America, to be a Patriot – to be Patriotic – is to believe all men are created equally and that we have the rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

So, to those who argue gross celebrations of fireworks are how we celebrate alongside our fallen brothers at arms is lunacy. I LOVE fireworks displays. Look at my photos. I went to Sugarhouse last night and took 84 pictures of fireworks, and I loved every minute of it. To see people (American and NON-American) gather to celebrate America is a GREAT experience. But that is not what makes us Americans. The ability to shoot explosives in the air is not what makes us Americans.

“. . . the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air. . .” is about REAL ROCKETS AND BOMBS. That line is not about a celebration, it is about what Francis Scott Key was watching going on around him in the MIDDLE OF A WAR!!! These fireworks are not shot off to remember the War of 1812, with its red glaring rockets and bursting bombs. They are lit in celebration. Just as they are pretty much all year in Asia, the beginning of every New Year worldwide, the 24th here, and state holidays elsewhere, or really – any time there is a large gathering and celebration for a common cause. Fireworks have NOTHING to do with celebrating America or Patriotism.

AND – America, MY America, the America I know, love, and respect is NOT the America that advocates for neighbours minding their own business, when something going on outside their door is disturbing. It is NOT the America that advocates for sticking boots up anyone’s ass, and it sure as hell is not the America that advocates “light[ing] off more” fireworks, in direct contrast to what is being asked by others, because it pleases one sorry little ass. MY America is one in which we are ALL brothers in arms. One in which WE ALL love, work for, and care FOR each other, not in spite of.

Tony, the original FB poster, gives a LOT of his time to our military and our country. THAT it Patriotism. THAT is showing love, devotion and passion for your nation. Be a Patriot all you want. But, in order to do that, in America, you need to know what that means – and that means being able to have discourse in a public forum without being called ridiculous. That means being able to celebrate without harm or distress. It also means we, the people, work TOGETHER to protect the rights of each other, regardless of our differences. THAT is American Patriotism.


~ by shinshige on 5 July 2011.

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