To the editor:
I am 78 years old and have lived for 43 years on Bainbridge Island. Since I moved here in 1976 we have had the right to celebrate the Fourth with fireworks that have been reduced to just a few hours.
The city now has voted in their Oct. 8 meeting to ban them entirely. A few members may have been unconsciously biased due to their occupations.
It is the only time I can properly celebrate my great-grandfather’s service in the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry during the Civil War; or my uncle’s service in the 1st Infantry Division in World War II in Europe; or my two other uncles that served in the Marines and the U.S. Navy in the Pacific. I personally served six years in the Navy Air Reserves, as did many of my friends during the Vietnam War. My brother was a proud Marine and served in a special unit at the nuclear tests in Nevada just after Korea. Let us not forget the terrible sacrifices made over the 200-plus years that created our proud democracy. Don’t forget this is the patriotism that the fireworks symbolize:
“…And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?…”
Over many years, my mother used to enjoy the wonderful parade in Winslow on her Fourth of July birthday when we still had tanks firing fireworks through their main gun on the streets of Winslow. We also used to have a public display that pleased a lot of Islanders.
Now we are terrified of a few hours when folks can celebrate the birthday of our country. Eliminating fireworks is not necessary and I am sure we can survive the risk. People’s barbecues are a greater fire risk and we always notified our neighbors if we were setting off fireworks so they could bring their pets inside for those few hours. Our own pets managed to survive without trauma.
I posted this message on NextDoor on Oct. 1. I had about 100 replies in four days. The split was slightly in favor of keeping fireworks.
Let’s resolve this the American way. Allow us to exercise our democratic rights by voting on the issue.