Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

Seattle Fireworks Display ~ 7/4/10

Did I ever tell you about the time I worked for the 4th of July Committee in Vancouver, WA?

The committee was responsible for the fireworks show which used to be the largest 4th of July fireworks display west of the Mississippi River.  I don't think it's actually the biggest anymore, but it's nice to have that history.

Vancouver, WA (USA!) has a historic district near downtown and a Fort (Fort Vancouver of course!) so take my word for it, the town feels very patriotic, and it's a great place for a big fireworks display.

Working for the 4th of July Committee was one of my first paying jobs as a teenager, and one of my most favorite jobs of all time.  We sold fireworks to fund the display, and when I say we sold fireworks....I mean we worked in a huge fireworks tent!  Now, take whatever you're thinking when I say "fireworks tent" and triple it in size...and then add at least 12 registers...and shopping carts. 

I worked there for...I want to say 5 years.  Without boring you with all the details, it was a great lesson in leadership, overtime, controversy, retail, fireworks law, teamwork, and above all it was a blast.  Customers buying fireworks are [usually] happy, and I've never personally seen so much cash in my LIFE.

I grew up going to the fireworks show with my parents.  I can remember sitting on blanket in the grass, sitting in my mom's lap and her leaning back and saying "woooaaah!!!" with the big explosions, and then leaving the park with THOUSANDS of other people!  How on earth did we even get there....or get home with so many people!?!  Other years we watched from my dad's office building - they had a lounge on the top floor with a great view.

Once I started working with the 4th of July Committee, going to the show was less important.  I was exhausted by that night, plus I was older and more interested in setting off my own fireworks than going to the show.  Although one year we were given VIP passes and allowed to drive down near the airfield where they set them off.  That was pretty sweet. :-)

Being me, as much as I love fireworks, I also have a healthy respect for the danger that surrounds the holiday.  If you're setting off fireworks tonight, please be safe! Keep water near by, never relight, don't hold fireworks in your hands, and take care of your pets!

In the midst of all of your celebrating, take a moment to remember the reason for the holiday.  I often think about how I could've born anywhere in the world, and I'm incredibly grateful to have been born in the United States.

Happy Birthday America!


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