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Happy Birthday, America—I think

July 4th, America’s birthday, is always a celebration that lights up the sky. In New York, there are many celebrations as I assume there are throughout the country.

Over the years if my family doesn’t go out to watch the local fireworks, we are home in front of the television watching the Macy’s 4th of July firework extravaganza.

Not this year. This year we had the opportunity to see them in person and that was an entirely different experience. We went to visit our daughter and son-in-law who live in Long Island City. Their 39th-floor terrace faces the East River and the five barges filled with shells ready to create the magic. And magic it was.

Until we got there, I hadn’t realized that Long Island City, a few blocks from where we were, was the epicenter of all the evening’s activity: the live music, the crowds, and the TV cameras recording the entire show for everyone watching at home.

And then, when it was time to start home, I looked down and saw the streets swarming with people and realized that I was going to have to join them. I have to admit I started to panic. I am not a fan of crowds.

We delayed our departure, but it didn’t matter. The streets were still full—people everywhere! We walked in the extreme humidity to a distant subway hoping to avoid the crowds but when we got there it was jam-packed, gridlocked. No one was going anywhere. Our son, Tyler, was leading the way and suggested we walk to the next station—another 15-minutes weaving in and out of people. It was the right decision; the subway we caught even had a seat.

By the time we got to our car, we were exhausted, dripping with sweat, and very relieved.

We left with our memories of the show we’d just seen: a series of explosions, gunpowder manipulated into sparks in such a way as to create a light show so beautiful everyone burst into applause as the sparks died and fell into the river.

Unfortunately, that was not the only use of gunpowder: “4th of July mass shootings across US kill 13, injure more than 80” —ABC News.*1

Within the same few days, gunpowder was used to celebrate America at its finest and also to put America to shame.

We have a choice. Isn’t it about time we take it?

Let me know your thoughts.

Here are some photos of the night and a video at the end.




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Jul 07, 2023
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For years we have watched Macy’s on TV also. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to see it in person!! It must have been breathtaking! The comparison you make is very well stated. There is no reason for military style assault weapons to be sold on the streets. However I believe that the real problem is that our country, founded upon Christian principles, has fallen away from God! And until we return to Him, violence will continue. God bless you to all!

Adeline Olmer
Adeline Olmer
Jul 07, 2023
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Thank you for sharing your thoughts and adding to the conversation!