As the Fourth of July quickly approaches, we can take time to reflect on the many great freedoms and traditions we have here in the United States. One of those time-tested traditions is that of fireworks. But do you know when we began using fireworks to celebrate this unique and great holiday?
For the answer to that question, we must travel back to a date nearly as old as our Nation. In Philadelphia, on July 4th, 1777, the first official Fourth of July celebration was held. The activities that day started at noon as all the armed ships available were drawn in front of the city on the Delaware River. The ships continued with a thirteen-gun salute (in honor of the 13 colonies) to mark the beginning of the day’s festivities. The salute was followed up by an elegant dinner, a military demonstration, and a performance by a band. That night the first fireworks display was held to recognize the freedoms so many were fighting for during our War for Independence from Great Britain.
Fast forward 246 years, and we still celebrate with cookouts, music, and fireworks. We even have the luxury of shooting off fireworks right in our own backyard! John Adams was quoted as saying:
“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival…It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
Even though we have the freedom to fire off rockets of RED, WHITE, and BLUE in the sky we must always be vigilant to do so in a safe manner. In addition to the brief history lesson below are some great tips to keep you and your family safe:
Follow the directions on all fireworks and don't use them for anything other than for what they are intended.
Do not attempt to alter or combine fireworks.
Never use homemade fireworks.
When lighting fireworks, always have water handy in case of uncontrolled burn.
Spectators should remain a safe distance from the fireworks being lit.
Whoever lights the fireworks must be sober, wear safety glasses, and keep all clothing away from the flame while lighting.
Only light fireworks outdoors and on a smooth, flat surface that is away from all flammable materials.
Never try to relight fireworks that appear to be damaged in any way.
Dispose of all fireworks materials by soaking them in water before putting them in the trash.
Keep your pets in a safe place indoors where they won't be able to destroy anything during public fireworks displays. If your home isn't soundproof, you may want to leave a television or radio on so your pets won't hear the fireworks
This last one is important to remember...
If lighting fireworks, once the charge is ejected into the air, ensure you loudly yell FREEDOM!! Do so after each subsequent charge.
While it is important to take precautions, it is still possible to have fun and enjoy yourselves. With that said, your friends at STEP wish you and your families a very happy and safe Fourth of July. To freedom!
Pruitt, Sara. (2022, Jun 29). Why Do We Celebrate July 4 With Fireworks? History.com. https://www.history.com/news/july-4-fireworks-independence-day-john-adams