Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day

It is impossible to skip Independence Day in Chicago.  Even if you avoid the crowds at the firework display on the Lakefront, you can't avoid the fireworks all around.  The sheer multitude makes you feel as if you've traveled back in time and are sitting with Francis Scott Key listening to a battle in 1814.  I know this is what the girls think is happening.  For years Yaya was terrified of this day.  She thought for sure we would die.  Her fear is still present, but she's gotten somewhat braver...

Indeed, the fireworks begin in the early afternoon.  By 3:00 you begin to hear them seemingly in the distance.  Pop! Boom! Pop!  You can't see them, of course, so it seems like a battle in the distance.  As the evening wears on, the frequency of the Pop! Boom! Boom! Whirrr! increases, but you still can't see anything.  The battle is nearing, but it's not here yet.  Then, the sun sets, the sky turns black, and you can feel the earth shake with fireworks.  The noise comes from every direction -- Pop! Boom! Boom! Whirrr! Boom! Pop!  And for minutes at a time it is continuous.  While a group on one corner sets up for the next round, another group a few blocks away is going full force.  Now you can see the displays, too.  They are indeed impressive and can be seen in every direction, but it is still quite frightening for my children.  They can look for a second, enjoying the color, but quickly fear of the noise takes over, and they seek refuge under the covers of their beds.

"...the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting through air..."  You can experience it all -- unharmed -- in Chicago on the 4th of July.

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