Last 4th of July is one I’ll never forget. And neither will our guests. Our celebration of the 4th began normally. Becky and I had several seminary students over to our home for an old fashioned hamburger, hot dog, baked beans, etc. spread.
As it started to get dark, we all drove to our neighborhood fireworks display on the edge of a small lake near our home. A relatively small crowd of a few hundred neighbors were there. A few of the students brought to my attention that the blaring music was very boomer–70’s hard rock. Hadn’t noticed it except for my involuntary head-banging.
It was a very Norman Rockwell sort of scene with kids and dogs running around as spectacular fireworks were exploding high in the air.
What happened next is still hard for me to believe. Just after a beautiful display of fireworks over the lake had ended, a shirtless man walked over near the base where these very high-powered, professional fireworks were being launched.
He then handed his beer can to another man, who had a large American flag in his other hand, and then reached over and picked up one of the large boxes of fireworks-apparently scheduled to be shot off for the next round. I still can’t believe what happened next. This man hoisted the large, heavy box of very powerful, highly explosive fireworks over the top of his head and lifted the box up as high as his arms could reach.
Then this man started walking from the edge of the lake toward the broad yellow tape that was designed to keep the crowd (us) at a safe distance from these potentially dangerous explosives. He stopped about 10-15 feet before the yellow tape, with his arms still fully extended as high as they could go, when the first sparks began to shoot from the huge bottom of the large box of fireworks.
Standing about 6 feet away from this shirtless man was his buddy with the can of beer in one hand and raising up the American flag in the other.
If you look very closely at the video screenshot above (from my trusty iPhone), you can see this shirtless man with his hands held high above him holding the box from which all the fireworks are starting to explode. And if you look to the right of this man (his left) you’ll see his buddy, who has a big American flag in his right hand that you can’t see because it’s behind the fire. If you look closely you can even see the yellow tape (between these 2 men and the crowd in front of us) supposedly meant to keep us a safe distance from the fireworks.
What took place next only lasted for 7 seconds before the shirtless man had to throw down the exploding fireworks box. But everyone with us that evening said they will probably never have another 4th of July when they don’t remember this one. Immediately after the explosions and balls of fire stopped shooting at us, one of the seminary students, Nolan, yelled out,
“That one nearly killed you Steve! We’re lucky to be alive! We’re lucky to be alive! Friendly fire! We just came under attack! This is unprecedented in the American society! We just came under attack at our own fireworks show!”
Becky and I think our favorite Thank You note came from another student, Tim, who wrote,
Thanks again for having us over for the 4th. It was one I’m certain we’ll never forget. It was the first time I was shot at by a shirtless man while his buddy held his beer and waved an American flag. I’d like to think that this is what the Founding Fathers would have wanted. “Give me drunk fireworks, or give me death.”
To help make your 4th of July weekend more memorable, I’ve just posted the video I took of those 7 seconds, along with some slower instant replays so you can see the most amazing and frightening fireworks display I’ve ever seen.
You’ll also hear the adrenaline-soaked comments made by some members of our group immediately after we stopped being fired on. And If you watch the video carefully, you’ll see why Nolan screamed, “That one nearly killed you Steve!”
UPDATE–JULY 4, 2015: For some reason there is no neighborhood Fourth of July fireworks celebration scheduled in our nearby park this year. Hmmm. I wonder why?
If you’d like to see this brief 3-minute video Click Here.
Or watch below: