What Fireworks Really Are: the Sound of War
Maybe it's time we lose them from our July 4 celebrations, writes Sarah Miller
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2014 12:41 PM CDT
Fireworks light up the sky in Milwaukee.   (AP Photo/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Rick Wood)

(Newser) – When Sarah Miller, then roughly 20, heard a "nonspecific rat-a-tat-tat" while catching a movie at a theater in Bogota, Colombia, she, along with everyone else, panicked. It turned out to be fireworks intended to commemorate the mall's anniversary, but hearing them "divorced from the context of potato salad alerted me to how much they truly evoke the sound of munitions," she writes for Time. And while fireworks are certainly a sight and sound of celebration, in the case of July Fourth, what we're commemorating is a war. It's admittedly a long-past one, "but many wars—Vietnam, the wars Iraq and Afghanistan—are not long over," she writes.

And it's not just veterans who might have an adverse reaction to fireworks. Consider also the millions of Americans who fled conflicts in "Southeast Asia, Central America, the Balkan states, the Middle East, Africa," a list of regions that basically makes up half our planet. As Americans, we're fairly unique in having managed to largely avoid the "homefront experience" with war. "So there’s perhaps something arrogant about being like, 'Whoo! Let’s make lots of sounds that sound like war!'" Maybe it's time to consider giving them up. Click for Miller's full column.

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Showing 3 of 57 comments
Jul 16, 2014 4:49 PM CDT
I am sure that Sarah voted for Obama (or would have) , we must come to the realization that there are those in the country (and in other country's) that are doing everything they can to get rid of all things American. Anything that gives this country pride, and rememberence of what has made us so great they are determined to get rid of. Sarah, you have the right to your opinion, but know this, we Americans will fight your kind of logic till the end.
Jul 16, 2014 11:39 AM CDT
"we're fairly unique in having managed to largely avoid the "homefront experience" with war." Really? I believe Ms. Miller needs to perhaps actually learn US history before she pontificates so broadly...
Jul 7, 2014 10:32 PM CDT
Well I guess she is entitled to her opinion, I however don't think most Americans will agree with her. While the exploding fireworks may be somewhat analogous to "bombs bursting in air" I think most will equate the celebration with FREEDOM..