Take care with fireworks

When I was a child, my parents would take our family to see beautiful fireworks displays on holidays such as the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Armed Forces Day. They explained that the colorful bursts were symbolic of explosions from gunfire and bombs in battle, during wartime, when men and women fought and died for our freedoms.

Over the years, I have continued to enjoy the fireworks displays put on by pyrotechnic engineers, accompanied by firefighters to maintain public safety during the events. Some of the most spectacular displays I have seen have been at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

But times really have changed. Fireworks, firecrackers, rockets and many varieties of “bombs” became really popular entertainment for people of all ages, in spite of the danger they present by handling them incorrectly. They are readily available for purchase. Even though they are illegal to use in many areas, including residential areas, they are very prevalent. People who put on their own personal fireworks shows – on holidays such as the upcoming New Year’s Day – don’t worry about complaints or law enforcement because the officers have so many other issues of a higher priority to deal with that, well, firecrackers end up being acceptable.

What is the attraction? Do people just get a thrill making all that racket, regardless of how it bothers their neighbors? They probably don’t take into consideration that some people would like to sleep, and can’t because of the noise. I am sure they don’t consider that those loud noises, like gunshot noises, might scare small children, elderly people and people with various types of mental illnesses or phobias.

They surely don’t consider the trauma and anxiety it causes some military veterans who have flashbacks of bombs and gunfire. And I am sure that it would never occur to them to consider that animals are scared of them, too, whether they are domestic pets, in the house or outside, or animals out in the wild. Many pets have run off from their homes because they were so scared.

Most fireworks in residential areas are illegal in the state of Georgia, but more than that, they are a very inconsiderate invasion of the peace and quiet people expect when they are in their own homes. There really are many professional displays to go see, so as not to disrupt the peace in a neighborhood. Or take them to an empty parking lot with lots of space and few people to disturb.

Please, at least take the time to consider others next time you think about fireworks. Not all neighbors appreciate the “show” (and the noise) you are putting on, or the trash left behind. And very few neighbors will risk friendships or even retaliation by saying something to you about it.

Fireworks, like everything else, have a time and place to be appropriate, and very much enjoyed. It is possible for us all to enjoy fireworks without being bombarded in our own homes.

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