Last night, I lay in bad reading. The window was open, letting in cool night air. At some point, I noticed what sounded like detonations in the distance. I paused in my reading—bringing me back to the present from 17th Germany—to think what the noise could be.
I recalled that the Museum Festival on the banks of the Main River is closing, with. A favorable wind carried the sound of traditional fireworks marking the end from Frankfurt, 20 kilometers away
I could not help thinking that the sound reminded me of wartime bombardment—aerial or artillery. I tried to imagine citizens of this village over 60 years ago, lying awake and hearing the sounds of Allied bombardment of Frankfurt and neighboring targets. It must surely have been disturbing—not the celebration that explosive fireworks convey. Did they fear the end of their country’s foolhardy attempt to right the wrongs of an unjust treaty? Were they happy to live in a farm village, uninteresting to military planners? It must surely have been only women, children, and old men listening to those unwelcome and frightening sounds.
In contrast, I picture the crowd in Frankfurt: all ages, confessions, social classes from many countries—many of which were formerly enemies or told by their government to hate one another. On this night, all enjoy a colorful aerial display that was accompanied by symphony music. Surely, I was the only one to think of war.
Dull thuds in the distance did not bother. I would have returned to my book, but a neighbor’s stupid dog started yapping and forced me to get up to close the window...
Credit where credit is due. The fireworks display from Washington, as seen on PBS (the one Republicans want to kill) was impressive. There was harmony between what one saw and what one heard. It looked like someone with imagination was involved.
It was an admirable display.
Anyone that has witnessed New Year fireworks in Sydney or London, will surely have been disappointed by the 4th of July display in Miami.
Is this one more example of fading American glory? It should be a celebration of the country's most significant day, but was without imagination or impact. Perhaps economic crises played a role After all, who should pay for something that merely goes up in smoke? (War is a different matter, because a lot of people make a lot of money). I'm sure that politicians argue and point fingers.
As I watched the colorful display in sky over Miami Harbor and distant bursts over South Beach, a line from an old Doris Day song kept springing to mind: "Is that all there is?" Ce sera.
At least the show was over shortly past nine, better than having to wait until midnight as happened in Sydney. But, the wait was worth it...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.