Fourth of July has got to be the country’s biggest party. Since it falls in my favorite season of the year, I am usually a party maker, inviting people over for a cookout and then walking to the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Netherlands Carillon for the fireworks—a fifteen minute stroll from my abode.
This year, with work, a power outage and general malaise, I skipped the party part and walked down to watch the fireworks around 7:00 pm with neighbors. It was a good decision. The heat was pretty beastly and folks who had been picnicking all day looked a bit wilted. With the heat and predicted thunderstorms (and we’ve had our fill of those recently), the crowd was thinner than normal. It still included many red-white-and-blue clad tots impervious to the temperature and what must have been a photography club of some sort. There were all kinds of impressive tripods and cameras lined up.
We had two hours to talk and people-watch before the fireworks started. They did not disappoint, though they seemed a bit quiet this year, perhaps because the breeze was blowing the sound away from us. When I first came to the DC area and saw the Fourth of July Fireworks, I was astonished that the Washington Monument wasn’t smoke-blackened the next day.
We walked back in the after-fireworks crowd, glad not to be heading for the Metro and glad for our good fortune to celebrate the nation’s 236thbirthday at one of its iconic spots.