05 July 2008


few situations hold fear or unease for me. i've dealt with violence, hostility, confrontation, abuse, neglect, character assassination, court disputes, and assorted other forms of civilized conduct in more forms than i can count. but there is an annual event which i dread -- the 4th of july. the explosions, bright flashes, choppers overhead, parachute flares, all conspire to bring up vivid memories of vietnam. it raises the hair on the back of my neck to notice how a string of firecrackers going off sounds like a firefight.

so each year i either find a remote place away from people altogether, or stay home and build an aural wall around me so i can't hear the noise. a shame, really -- people seem to genuinely enjoy the spectacle. and my PTSD isn't a fraction as severe as it is for many vets. at least i understand what stimulates mine, and can mostly manage my environment to remove the stimuli. mostly.

i wonder how the inclusion of fireworks originated? are we re-enacting the aerial bombardment of fort mchenry on september 14,, 1814, the scene which inspired our national anthem? wikipedia doesn't shed much light on why pyrotechnics and explosions have become such an obsession: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4th_of_july maybe it's connected to the u.s. being a gun culture. i dunno. i'm not anti-firearms in principle, though in the hands of anyone but me, guns make me nervous. this includes hunters, criminals, and the police. i think spending a year in a jungle landscape where everyone is armed, and either intent on killing you or may kill you by accident, has something to do with it.

whatever. i can now breathe a deep sigh of relief. until next july.

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