Although with a 2+ year old we don’t celebrate the way I used to growing up, (she’s not old enough yet for the crowds or the late nights) all the memories of all the 4ths are a strong one. Growing up near Boston, they’re even stronger than most, since Boston’s 4th of July celebration has been a big event locally for well over 30 years now.
The proper ending for a 4th just has to have the 1812, church bells, and cannon. The older I get, the more important the music is – even if it’s just on simulcast, instead of live like I did when much younger – even more important than the fireworks.
The other thing that amazes me, besides all the obvious patriotic good feeling, is just how much Boston gets into the celebration – and nicely, too. It’s one big happy party – it’s amazing how nice and helpful Bostonians and others can be on the 4th, even when they’re sweating in the sun, and are all crammed along the banks of the Charles. It’s a rare glimpse of people being really decent and enjoying themselves together, especially in an otherwise taciturn and to many outward appearances rude New England culture.
The only sadness for me has become the telecast and the sponsors, who unfortunately have chosen to go for ad revenue and a national audience. If you’re relying on TV to watch the concert these days, trust me, you’re missing a lot. I definitely miss the days of yore when only Channel 5 and A&E carried the concert, and were very careful to minimize commercial breaks, and coordinated well with the Pops. Now, you miss large chunks of the music, and they even put commercials in during the 1812 itself, which is pretty much sacrilege in my book. Sigh. I think I’m going to have to drag out my copy on vinyl (no, I haven’t downloaded it on iTunes, it’s not the same) so I can get to sleep properly tonight. Too bad I can’t replicate the cannons and church bells too.
A special hello to all my non-US readers out there. Remember, we are a big country, and are filled with a lot of different opinions – ones that we traditionally have shared equally all around. Unfortunately, we’re kind of stuck at the moment waiting for things to change…