Originally created 07/04/99

Holiday unites family, Butler High student says



When Celeste Robinson thinks about the Fourth of July, she thinks of -- what else? -- fireworks.

Sparklers, bottle rockets, Roman candles -- the roadside-stand variety of fireworks.

"That's the first thing that comes to mind," said the 18-year-old senior at Butler High School.

Rather than going to watch a public fireworks display, she said, for several years her family bought its own fireworks and put on a private show.

"But we stopped doing that a couple of years ago. One of my cousins, a little boy, got into some trouble with one and hurt himself."

This year, Celeste is going with her family to Hinesville, Ga., where older sister Tameko lives with her husband and children. That's how they've celebrated the holiday the past few years, since Tameko moved away from home, she said.

"It's usually the same thing. Usually they'll come down here and we'll have a big family dinner at my grandmother's house," Tameko said.

July Fourth means a time for a family get-together, she said. It's about good food and visiting with loved ones.

The family time is more meaningful to her than the historical and patriotic significance of the holiday, Ms. Robinson said. Thomas Jefferson and the Continental Congress and the Declaration of Independence, self-evident truths and unalienable rights are all filed away in the recesses of her mind like so many other things high school students memorize for a test and promptly forget.

"It's a weird thing, I know, but I forgot most of the history behind the Fourth of July. I used to know everything about it -- I know I learned it -- but I forgot it all."

Emily Sollie covers teen issues. She can be reached at (706) 823-3340 or esollie@augustachronicle.com.