JULY 4th, 2011
A day to celebrate US independence from the British in 1776. July 4th was the day the Declaration of Independence was approved, but legally the separation of the US colonies actually happened on July 2nd! The day is a public holiday and traditionally is celebrated with BBQ’s and fireworks.
All these years since the ban on fireworks in Australia in the 1980’s I had waited to get my chance again to blast a few old school rockets into the sky (yes, yes some kids blew fingers off, some adults lost an eye or two, but why ruin it for the rest of us?!). Alas it was not to be this time round…..
I was awoken to what I sounded like gun fire and a huge explosion, followed by car alarms! Although illegal in Seattle, fireworks were being fired off from 7am until well into the night in the city streets (along with police and fire sirens)! In theory the only place in Seattle that you can use fireworks is on the Indian Reservations (wherever they are?), which are also the only place you can buy them legally. As I said in theory!
My Independence Day was spent at the Tacoma Freedom Fair – food, cars and an air show.
A number of aircraft did a practice sessions in the morning, so I got to see two air shows all for a $5 donation! The main show was 2 hours of non stop flying. Awesome!
The F-16 was from the USAF F-16 Viper – West Coast Display Team (they tend to call it the Viper now rather than Fighting Falcon due to the aircrafts resemblence to the Viper fighters in Battle Star Galactica!). The F/A-18 was from the US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet – West Coast Display Team. The F-16 also did some formation flying with the P-51 Mustang as part of the USAF Heritage Flight.
The highlight of the show had to be the F-16 doing a full afterburner low level pass straight over the top of me! Awesome! A great rush that hit you right in the chest…….USA, USA, USA!!!!
Fourth of July @ Lake Union
To finish the day off it was back to Seattle for the fireworks over Lake Union. At this time of year it is daylight very early and doesnt get fully dark until after 10pm, so while waiting for the sun to go down, the hills all around the lake (Queen Anne, Fremont, Capitol Hill) were lighting up with random fireworks that people had – some were very extensive and impressive! Then the main show started, huge fireworks explosions, some in the shape of smiley faces and love hearts graced the skies. The display went for about 30 minutes, very impressive (apparently it was all synchronised to music, but I couldn’t hear any of that from where I was watching)!
I made the decision to watch from South Lake Union, at the other end 40,000 people were crammed into Gasworks Park, must have been a nightmare to get out of there after the show as most roads were closed and there are only limited ways to get to and from there. For me I just walked home without any delay or hassle (even though there were thousands of people in the same location as me). There were a few crazy moments under the overpasses with cars and people converging at the same moment….but all survived!
So that was it, my first Fourth of July in the USA…..I fell asleep to the sound of more illegal fireworks in the night.