On the evening of July 5, I stepped out on my deck. To the east, to the west, to the north, I heard booms as of a bombardment, explosions as of cannons and pop-pops as of repeating bullets of firearms.

Are these not, I asked, the sounds of war? Frances Scott Key — Fort McHenry — September 1814 — Baltimore Harbor. “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof …” To what does this re-enactment of the sounds and sights of war give proof in this day and age, I asked?

Traditionally, communities and families come together at this time of year to celebrate Independence Day with parades, hot dogs and apple pie, strawberry shortcake and then the grand finale, the fireworks show. These are American traditions, to be repeated and respected in celebrating our independence.

Yet, thinking back to the unofficial re-enactment of the violent sounds of war, I see my innocent pets react with panic. As I suffer with them, I cannot help but wonder what these sounds might trigger in veterans who have experienced the horrors and trauma of war.

I celebrate those communities in Maine that have chosen to prohibit the use and sale of fireworks and to commemorate Independence Day as a very special day with a spectacular, community-organized fireworks show.

Priscilla Doel


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