"Joy of fireworks gives way to day of movies" by: Jessica Shepard

   For most, Independence Day celebrations include a family barbecue, friends and some ruckus.
   If you’re old enough to drink, it gets a little better – but, also, a little dumber.
   Especially around live explosives. You know, fireworks.
   It’s a day full of traditions and, hopefully, safe fun.
   Growing up, I remember getting my hands on those little poppers you threw at the ground.
   My favorite part was lining up a whole bunch and stomping on them. I also enjoyed throwing them at the ground near my siblings.
   That wasn’t the nicest thing to do, but I got shafted with less poppers as the eldest.
   Well, maybe it seemed like less because I used all mine up quickly.
   But, it’s the same thing – mostly.
   Probably not, when my mom reads this. Still, it was all a prelude to the big event.
   Night-time light shows with the occasional sparkler in hand.
   Those were as close as we got to handheld fire in those days.
   Sometimes we had our own displays out at the beach; other times we caught the old air show out at the airport.
   Which reminds me, what happened to that event?
   I mean, it used to be HUGE!
   Vendors, airplane stunts, musical acts and so much more. I never cared much for the parking, but, otherwise it was amazing!
   As I got older, the desire to light things on fire and cause little colorful explosions became a dwindling spectacle.
   I think that’s due to the fact that my parents stopped buying them and they made my siblings and I buy them.
   Which ruins the fun of it all if you can’t afford something big and sparkly and bright.
   It also brought us to another tradition. Watching the 1996 movie Independence Day.
   You know, the one with aliens, Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman and Randy Quaid.
   In fact, I’m pretty sure it was Will Smith’s first fictional brush with aliens. Still, it never ceases to be on the rotation of movies for us on that day.
   Last year, I’m sure we added the Die Hard series to the queue.
   This year, I’m not sure what we will start off with.
   Regardless of how I’m spending it, I hope everyone else has a safe, happy and fun-filled Independence Day!
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