July 4th, 2010
09:35 AM ET

Letter to the President #531: “THE ROCKET’S RED GLARE”

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

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I think one of the best perks of being President would be dragging your lawn chair up to the White House roof to watch the 4th of July fireworks over D.C.; well, that and getting a daily letter from me.

Dear Mr. President,

Happy Fourth of July! I hope the holiday finds you and yours well and enjoying a little barbeque in the Rose Garden on the Presidential Weber Grill or whatever it is that you use. “Hey, Sasha, can you bring me another bag of those charcoal briquets that President Carter left in the garage?”

We will probably throw some kind of meat on the grill ourselves since that has somehow become associated with patriotism. That and chips, and viewings of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. So we’ll do our part, because for all of this talk of a globalization and one great world community, I still think we are a long way from that being a reality, and in the meantime patriotism is a critical part not only of who we are, but also of our survival. Like the song says, I am proud to be an American and I love celebrating our nation’s freedoms, independence, and greatness each 4th of July.

And of course, I love fireworks. Always have. My dad did, too.

One of my favorite fireworks memories with him came when we lived in Illinois, in the small farming town of Sullivan. A local guy named Tucker was in charge of the annual fireworks display and he launched his rockets at the edge of a small pond in a park. Most years, all of us townsfolk gathered on the far side of the pond, and watched the brilliant explosions in the sky reflected in the dark waters below, and it was beautiful, and all was right with the world.

But this particular year, something went dreadfully goofy and the fireworks started exploding much lower than usual. For a few brief moments it was pandemonium: The rockets would spark and swoosh as if they were going to leap to the heavens, and then only a hundred feet off the ground, they would burst, flinging their multi-color fireballs in every direction. They were bouncing off of cars, sizzling into the pond, and sending parents and kids alike scrambling like the British Regulars had emerged anew from the treetops to open fire on the Americans.

No one was hurt. Tucker brought it all back under control in short order. And the finale went off without a hitch.

I suppose I should not take such delight in it, what with all the emphasis people place on safety these days, but I must say it was a blast and I can still see it in my mind’s eye. So again, happy Independence Day. Hope I see you down at the fireworks on the mall tonight.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Alex Valiao (Fresh Meadows, NY)

    Happy 4th. Thanks for a great article. I'll be going to my extra special crib and watch the fireworks tonight. Now, where is my margarita???

    July 4, 2010 at 4:04 pm |