Nothing says Independence Day like firecrackers, right?

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“And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs burstin’ in air...”
The national anthem sets is motion the proper mood for commemorating the Fourth of July. Independence Day in whatever country one is native to must be celebrated with loud, booming light shows, no?
It’s a patriotic time, for sure, and many places have traditions such as parades and outdoor gatherings. Coney Island has the annual hot-dog eating contest, which has taken place for more than 100 years.
If one is more educationally-minded, I know there are places that have public readings of the Declaration of Independence. I know, I know that sounds rather boring, and, yes, it’s summer and learning isn’t a primary focus. It’s also likely that many haven’t glanced at the Declaration of Independence since it was a required part of class back in middle school.
I’m getting sidetracked here. The Fourth of July is Sunday and I’m contractually obligated to start giving thoughts on the proper way to celebrate.
I vaguely remember fireworks displays growing up. To my recollection, I don’t think my family had a tradition of going to a specific place to view fireworks.
I personally have not had the opportunity to celebrate our nation’s birthday in Washington, D.C. From the friendly confines of the living room on a hot and humid July evening (read: on the couch, feeling rather comfortable in the air conditioning and a rather safe distance from the bugs), the fireworks displays have always appeared to be a decent time on the local PBS station.
In southeast Missouri, when in the mood for at-home celebrations of Independence Day, save the expensive stuff for city of Perryville and elsewhere.
America is a “do-it-yourself” country. Many take pride in the simple joys of life, ranging from home improvement to celebrating our nation’s founding.
A visit to a nearby fireworks stand earlier this week put this into better perspective.
There were the standard bottle rockets and poppers, plus plenty of variety packages filled with sparklers and much more.
The packaging says it all, from “Explosive!” to “louder than loud.” There are more messages, of course, and plenty of red, white and blue packaging to get consumers in the mood.
The firecracker tents are a welcome sight to someone who has lived in Illinois the past decade, which is one of the most restricted states in the union in terms of fireworks laws. In fact, the Land of Lincoln is joined by only Ohio and Vermont as states that “allow only wire or wood stick sparklers and other novelty items.” The enforcement of the such state legislation probably could be a topic for a future column. (Of course, as bad as that sounds, it really could be worse...the American Pyrotechnics Association reports that Massachusetts bans all consumer fireworks. Imagine a place where firecrackers, flares, candles, bombs, sparklers, fountains and more are all “specifically prohibited.”)
In closing, I’m glad there is the option in Missouri of buying fireworks as an alternative to a larger display. This is America. Go celebrate Independence Day! All that is required in these parts are firecrackers and bottle rockets. No waiting until it gets dark enough, either. Whatever time it is...Be safe and light ‘em up!
Daniel Winningham is the managing editor of the Republic-Monitor. He may be reached by email at editor@perryvillenews.com or by phone at 573-547-4567.

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