PAGE A22 • THE VILLAGE TIMES HERALD • JULY 11, 2019
After July Fourth, put your fireworks away The showers of sparks that rained down on our heads the night of Fourth of July were inspiring — grandiose and touching all at once. Fireworks and Independence Day go together like old friends, a tradition that touches the heart. Long Island is home to many of these shows, from the Bald Hill spectacle to the fireworks set off on the West Beach in Port Jefferson. Then there are the smaller shows, the ones put on by the local neighborhoods in the cool of night. While the grand displays of the professional shows are like standing in the majesty under the lights of Times Square, the small community shows are more like candles set along the mantle in a dark room. Both can be spectacular in their own ways. Though of course, one is done by amateurs, often in illegal circumstances. And even after the festivities, fireworks continue to light up the sky despite its danger and how it may impact the surrounding community. Unlike other New York counties, Suffolk County has bans on sparklers, along with firecrackers, bottle rockets, Roman candles, spinners and aerial devices. The Suffolk County Fire Marshals beg people to put down their own fireworks and attend one of the professionally manned shows. And it seems they have had good reasons, both past and present, to press people for caution. Two women from Port Jefferson Station were injured with fireworks the night of July Fourth when one ended up in their backyard. While other media outlets reported only light injuries, in fact their injuries were much more severe, and readers will read that story in the coming week’s issue. But of course, the injuries don’t just happen here on the North Shore. A 2018 report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that in 2017, fireworks were involved in an estimated 12,900 injuries. Children under the age of 15 accounted for 36 percent of these injuries. Sparklers accounted for an estimated 1,200 emergency department-treated injuries. And it’s not over yet. Even a week after July Fourth, fireworks continue to go up with sparks and bangs in the din of night. Residents know to handle their pets scared by the booms of fireworks on Independence Day, but should they have to cower with their pets for days and days afterward? And of course, that’s not even to mention U.S. veterans, many of whom know what they must do to stay safe if they are suffering from PTSD on July Fourth, but should they have to sequester themselves every day afterward for a week or more? Sending up fireworks after July Fourth is inconsiderate, to say the least. We at TBR News Media beg people with excess fireworks to put them in packages or put them aside. And next time July Fourth comes around, we urge caution when using these explosives. Nobody should have to find refuge from their neighbors on the day of the birth of this nation.
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Letters to the editor
Trump’s salute should be a tradition The uplifting oral and visual history given by President Donald Trump (R) on the Fourth should be shown in all classrooms throughout America. It demonstrated the historical significance of the day along with the glorious events and the people that followed the founding of our country after the hard won revolutionary war. Most Americans celebrating on the Fourth think of hamburgers and hot dogs and are unaware of why we even celebrate this day. Sadly, some even equate our history with politics. Living in the Three Village area, we
are more aware than most of the battles fought here. If not for the patriots, we would be living under a monarchy and English rule. Trump’s speech interspersed with music and an air display was aweinspiring and reminded all of us the freedoms we enjoy because of the sacrifices of past Americans. Trying to erase history by tearing down monuments marking historical events is a sign of ignorance. To think you can change the past by destroying it is not only ignorant but delusional. Instead of looking and learning from past mistakes as well as
past triumphs, some think: “Out of sight out of mind.” More frightening, even with visual reminders, as in Germany, there are still holocaust deniers. It should be a tradition because it is the job for all presidents to celebrate from the White House and to remind Americans of how our freedom was won. This speech was unifying in contrast to the media’s divisive rhetoric, even before they heard a word. It truly showed us how we came to be. God Bless America! Carol Florio Lisa Pius Old Field
A chapter to skip in the history books As the celebration of our 243rd birthday as the United States of America winds down, the buffoon leading the current administration continues on his quest to eradicate all details of American history and create his own comic book version of events. In my many years as a student and teacher of social studies I always presumed that the leader of our nation would possess more knowledge than me about the history and government of the United States (discounting President George W. Bush [R], of course). Now here we are, in the Chump era,
drowning in the ignorance incited by his witless supporters. The narcissistic rant, portrayed as a speech to celebrate America and given on Independence Day of all days, outweighs so much of the other nonsense this man has uttered throughout his stolen presidency. Statements made about “airports” during the American Revolution and the many details of the War of 1812, which had nothing to do with the holiday we were celebrating, were sadly eaten up by his unenlightened minions. This pathetic mass of people who thrive on the words spoken by a man
who persists in embarrassing this country on a daily basis need to wake up. Chump is nothing more than a clown, systematically dismantling our government and creating a chapter that I will want to skip in every history book. Perhaps, rather than rallying to add a citizenship question to the census, president Chump should be forced to take the citizenship test and bet the rest of his term on the results. Hint, hint, I don’t think Vlad or Mitch could get him out of that jam. Stefanie J. Werner East Setauket
The definition of patriotism to me What is patriotism? Is it waving a flag and marching in a parade? Is it calling this nation “the greatest on Earth”? Is it to be celebrated with barbecues and fireworks? (Or tanks on the Lincoln Memorial?) I say, none of the above. For me, true patriotism is looking at ourselves through clear eyes, unafraid to be both critical and loving. It is recognizing that our Founding Fathers were both genius and cruel, calling for independence while owning slaves. It is noting that we are the wealthiest country on Earth that provides the least for its citizens. It is questioning why we are the way we are, and how we can be better, because we love this nation and want it to live up to its promise. This past year, I was preparing a choir for a concert on Veterans Day. We were
rehearsing “America the Beautiful,” and as I was teaching the harmonies, we got into a discussion about the poet, who was a woman. We noted that she wrote this iconic piece as she herself didn’t have equal rights in this nation that she loved — neither did Native Americans or black people, for that matter. And we talked about how both of these things could exist at the same time, how you could love a nation that denied you your rights, how you could support the veterans we were honoring while questioning the foreign policy that sent them to war, how patriotism is all of this and more. It was a really proud moment for me as an educator, a musician and citizen, this moment where it was all laid out on the table, in an honest and authentic way. That is patriotism to me.
I don’t like where we are as a country in this moment. Truth is, I don’t like where we’ve been. But dear God, I love this nation and the people who live here with me. I want us to be better, to finally live up to the unfulfilled promise of this nation that we have yet to realize. I don’t know if, when and how we’ll get there. But I know that it’s part of my life’s work to try. So today, as I write this, with tears streaming down my face, trying to make sense of a country where we put kids in cages and have tanks on the streets of D.C., I reaffirm my patriotism. I won’t wave a flag or beat my chest and scream “Freedom!” to prove it. My passion, my dissent, my voice is what makes me a patriot. Shoshana Hershkowitz South Setauket
The opinions of columnists and letter writers are their own. They do not speak for the newspaper.