The fourth of July is a special date in the United States. It’s a day when we come together as Americans to celebrate our freedom, and to remember what it took to obtain those rights we all enjoy as citizens. Families gather together for backyard BBQs and swim parties. Parades march down the center of town. Carnivals and concerts liven up city parks. And come night fall, the fourth ends in a bang―the celebratory fireworks show.
There are so many chances for disaster with celebrations of this nature. Everything from choking on a hot dog to the loss of a life. Yesterday was no different.
As I sat with my family and watched my town’s fireworks show begin, it was immediately clear that something was amiss. Half the fireworks appeared to all go up at once, in the first few minutes of the show. And then one went sideways, toward a house. For the briefest of moments, I was reminded of when I was a kid and my neighbor, and fellow classmate, had played with illegal fireworks and burned down his family home.
It could be worse, though. They could all go off on the ground or in the crowd. Oh wait. The show wasn’t over yet. The remaining fireworks exploded―at ground level. The crowd ohed and awed. It looked amazing! It was also scary. Depending on where you were sitting, it may have looked like hell. Imagine that kind of flash right up in your face.
According to reports, the platform collapsed sending the fiery explosions into the crowd. People sitting in the front row (north side) said the explosions reverberated through their chests. Rocked their ribcages. The whole thing was over in a matter of minutes.
Warning! This is RAW footage with adult language.
Fireworks―ground level explosions―into the crowd=VERY BAD
My husband and I immediately knew something had gone horribly wrong. We got the kids ready for the long trek back to the car, packing up our gear, and head out. We were concerned our exit would soon be blocked by ambulances, fire trucks, and a solid mass of people all trying to go the same direction. Smoke covered the soccer field used as the staging area, and the lights of emergency vehicles glowed through the haze. Their sirens audible, even above the noisy pitch the disaster stirred in all who were present.
There were people I knew out among the masses, somewhere. Neighbors and friends. One sat right in the front row this year. He was lucky, he didn’t get hit. People near him can’t say the same, when sparks and shrapnel flew into the crowd. Parents grabbed their children and ran for cover. Twenty-eight people sustained injury (four of them, serious). One young man described it as looking like a war zone.
But here’s the thing that got me, the thing that this post is really about: as I held my daughter’s hand, guiding her past policemen, fire trucks, and hundreds of other people trying to get out, I heard jokes and laughter over the night’s events. I had to wonder, were people becoming so desensitized?
I came home to find numerous ill-conceived tweets and wondered what possessed people to thoughtlessly post in such a manner that they would turn a blind eye to the clear possibility of injured at the event (I’m going to assume they didn’t know, or didn’t have first-hand experience to know, and were too dense to figure it out from the HUGE clues set before them)? Except, if they were tweeting, then they should know via the same local hashtag―serious business took place here this 4th of July!
One thing I have notices—can’t help to notice, actually, is…when something does happen, everyone stops to record the event for their Facebook or Twitter feed. They need to be one of the first ones to post about it. Get the word out. What happened to being present in the now? Living in the moment with the people who are there with you? Creating memories more often than recording them? Everyone is so busy updating their digital lives, they’re too busy to actually have a real life. Too busy to care or feel about things in any real world. I don’t know about you, but that makes me sad. Where we, as a people, could be headed, and what we could become, saddens me greatly.
As a whole, have we become desensitized to far too many things? Would you say that’s part of the problem with our society today?
As twenty-eight people lay out on the field, receiving treatment, or hobbling to their car looking to make their way to Emergency, or home to call a doctor, people made light of the event , cracked jokes, laughed and started rumors, regarding the truth. I challenge you to never be that person. Always be the better person.
My kids were sad that the fireworks show ended after a mere few minutes, but their hearts hurt for the families of those injured by the explosion. May they never change, and may more of tomorrow’s leaders learn to be as sensitive regarding our fellow man.