I didn't like fireworks when I was growing up. Sure, they look pretty, but the loud noises hurt my ears. I remember, well into my 20's, wincing every time I would see a bright flash indicating a particular loud noise was coming. I also don't remember hearing much about independence on Independence Day, and we didn't cook out, so July 4th was just another day off to me.
Now I think of it in very different terms. Independence means more to me as I get older. Several years ago I made a decision to take the holiday more seriously specifically because I wanted to celebrate American independence -- and personal freedom -- more. The rise of the Tea Party movement has made me even more interested in American exceptionalism and the threats to it. And, I outgrew my dislike of loud fireworks; either I'm more hard of hearing, or I just got used to the noise, I'm not sure which.
So I was glad to go see the fireworks put on by Robins Air Force Base this year. It took place in McConnell-Talbert Stadium, which is where the local high schools all play. I haven't been able to find seating information, but it is a very impressive stadium for a high school; I'm sure many colleges don't have one so nice. The field was packed with viewers, and the stands were about 3/4ths full. We were treated to the Air Force Reserve Component Band, which is apparently a pretty good band (I'm no judge of music, but I enjoyed it), followed by Diamond Rio. Then we got a very nice fireworks display, much grander than the one I'm used to in my hometown. I really liked the fact that they played patriotic music in the background during the fireworks. It inspired me and made me think of the bombs bursting in air, so much that I actually relished the loud bangs at the end. The music, which was mostly country, suited me perfectly -- so much so that when I created a patriotic mix album a few years ago, I used many of the same songs they played.