SAN DIEGO, July 1, 2013 – Americans often commemorate this holiday with barbecues, picnics by a lake or in a park, gatherings of family and friends, and a variety of other get-togethers celebrating American freedom.
It is, however, the anticipation of fireworks that stirs Independence Day excitement. The beauty and grandeur of fireworks displays provide a spectacular finale to this spirited holiday.
Fireworks shows are, to many Americans, a traditional experience on par with eating a piece of homemade apple pie, or an exciting game of baseball. And even though they are considered an established American tradition, fireworks shows did not originate in America.
While fireworks may have been invented during seventh century China, fireworks as a display were developed by the Italians during the renaissance in Europe (1400-1500). Marco Polo had brought back firecrackers from the Orient in 1292,
Over the following centuries, the use of fireworks during times of celebration spread to many other cultures and countries. They are still commonly used in present-day Chinese New Year and other Chinese festivals and celebrations.
Settlers first brought fireworks to America in the 1600s, however it was a display of fireworks, on July 4, 1777, one year after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, that created a sense of patriotism, and hope, in people long tired of war.
From that day forward, our fascination with and appreciation for their splendid display continues and they are present at all kinds of events, including presidential inaugurations, New Year’s Eve celebrations, amusement parks, and outdoor musical extravaganzas.
The National Council on Fireworks Safety ensures the safety of fireworks entering the United States. They are inspected and thoroughly tested for safety. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission there were an estimated 9,600 fireworks-related injuries during the 4th of July season in 2011.
Here are some safety tips for your 4th of July celebration offered by The National Council on Fireworks Safety:
- Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
- Know your fireworks. Read the warning labels and descriptions before igniting.
- Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
- Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
- Never attempt to alter or modify consumer fireworks.
- Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
- Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
- Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
Also, don’t forget the family dog may be frightened by the sound of fireworks. Be careful to properly protect this vulnerable family member from the potentially serious results of emotional anxiety, dangers of overreacting, and attempts to run away.
Fireworks are meant to bring excitement and joy to American traditions, and will certainly enrich this upcoming 4th of July. Now armed with helpful safety tips, please enjoy the show!
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities” columnist since 2011, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.
In addition to writing for “Communities,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.
Copyright © 2013 by At Your Home Familycare
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