The Fourth of July is among our favorite holidays, coming when summer finally arrives and providing an excuse to celebrate the founding of this great nation.
Fireworks have always been part of the celebration, but it’s getting out of hand on Whidbey Island.
With its proximity to Indian reservations and their wealth of explosives, some private fireworks shows rival tonight’s Celebrate America show in Freeland Park. The mortars aren’t so big, of course, but in terms of total rounds fired and poundage of gunpowder expended, residents’ fireworks no doubt exceed our beloved community show.
Nobody’s being a party-pooper here. Have fun with fireworks, but be safe. The hot weather is drying fuels in a hurry. Don’t shoot your illegal fireworks into the trees, grass or toward neighboring houses. Don’t drive your neighbors and their pets crazy by making noise all night long. Don’t spend so much money on fireworks. If you’ve got that much to blow, give some of it to Good Cheer or some other charity. You’ll get a bigger bang for your buck in the long run.
Shun the reservations, which sell fireworks under liberal federal laws. Buy the “safe and sane” kind available, for example, at the Kiwanis Club stand at Ken’s Korner. At least your money is going for a good cause. Kids love fireworks, but make sure they’re under total supervision when they’re playing with them. And always keep a bucket of water nearby in case something or someone catches fires.
Environmentally, fireworks are no friend of our beaches. The morning of July 5 requires tons of cleanup by neighbors and Beach Watcher volunteers, but they can’t get it all. Wire and paper waste can be found for weeks. Who knows what is does to the intertidal sea life. Is it scary if you’re a clam or mussel and a firework explodes inches from your shell?
Never forget our volunteer firefighters who have families of their own. They don’t want to leave home at night to battle a blaze caused by careless use of fireworks. And give a thought to the tremendous pain and suffering caused by burns, which can ruin a good day, cause a lifetime of misery or simply end a life in a gruesome fashion.
Be safe, be sane and be careful. Then have a happy Fourth of July.