Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fireworks Shows Are a Fond Reminder of Our Freedoms

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fireworks Shows Are a Fond Reminder of Our Freedoms

Article excerpt

Byline: kevin clark

As I watched yet another volley of sound and colorful fury light up the skies over World Golf Village Monday night, I paused for a moment to consider the reality of such a show.

What is it about fireworks displays that we find so hypnotizing? The violent airborne concussions are loud and perhaps a little scary. Any other week of the year and we'd be looking out of our windows to see if we were under attack, which I find ironic because though invented by the Chinese centuries ago, we launch fireworks on July 4 as a way to recall a bloody war for independence.

The pull of things that go boom, however, is as strong as ever. And when you have little ones who haven't seen fireworks before, there's an even greater desire to witness the star-spangled glory amongst the masses.

My wife and I didn't plan to arrive early Monday and camp out for a good seat. We instead chose to arrive late and scrounge for a location with a quick exit. I discovered long ago that this is the basic dichotomy of trips to see fireworks. You either go early and plan a whole night around the event, with food and red-white-and-blue straightjackets to subdue your kids; or you go late, eat nothing, watch from afar and get home earlier than most.

Our 4-year-old son was beside himself in anticipation of the event. Riding down Interstate 95, he peppered us with questions about what was sure to be the coolest thing ever.

"Are the fireworks gonna be loud? Can we see the red ones? Will there be ones that look like sharks?"

It was slow going on the exit ramp by World Golf Village, which was expected. Because of our tardy arrival, I decided it unwise to risk using the main entrance to the interior parking areas and opted instead for the open land across the way at the entrance to World Commerce Center. By the time I clicked on my left turn signal, everyone around me had decided to do the same.

I glanced over at the village entrance to see why. There an attendant was shooing traffic away in a body motion that revealed all the parking in that area was full. His expression told passersby, "Don't even think about it."

We parked along a lane that faced the International Golf Parkway overpass at I-95 and found a patch of grass to spread out a blanket. Based on the estimated start time, the pyrotechnics were to begin in an hour. My son provided some entertainment in the meantime.

The price for our rural locale was nice (free), but it lacked the amenities one would find much closer to the action -- food and restrooms. The food I could do without, but kids who get antsy seem to always request a bathroom break to cure their boredom first.

After several turns running up and down the nearby sidewalk, Ethan signaled his time had come. "I gotta go potty!" he screamed. …

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