Friday, June 30, 2006

Anywhere But Here: July 4th Edition

Weekend Assignment 118: Share some favorite memories of July 4th. You can do it by telling a story or showing some of your favorite pictures of the day -- or both! Pretty simple, because, after all, all of here in the US have lots of July 4th memories.

Okay, like John S. I do remember the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976. My mom was newly divorced, and I spent the summer with her in Cape Canaveral, Florida. For the 4th we went to a local park, and saw some not-so-great fireworks. But the VAB had a giant flag painted on the side of it, and I think a Bicentennial star logo. That's the Vehicle Assembly Building, the huge, boxy structure at Kennedy Space Center. Whenever I flew into or out of Melbourne, I always looked for that building. It can be seen from quite a distance. I don't think I have any relevant pictures from that summer, bit if I find any later, I'll post them.

Other than that, I remember really outstanding fireworks in Seaside Park, NJ when I was about six or seven years old. My mom was in the hospital with polioencephalitis (or possibly something else), and I was spending the summer with my dad's family (my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins) in and around Little Ferry. I remember standing fireworks displays of the Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty, stuff like that. For someone who usually only saw the most boring fireworks in the world, over at Suburban Park in Manlius, it was an amazing and wonderful thing. I can't remember ever seeing any really good fireworks the entire time I lived in Manlius or Syracuse. Come to think of it, Tucson doesn't do all that much better. We have fireworks at the baseball games, and a couple of the resorts, and at A Mountain (Sentinal Peak), which catches fire annually. But none of them match what I saw when I was seven years old.

The only other Fourth of July that left any particular memories behind was the trip John and I made to Disneyland in 2003. I bought a lanyard with patriotic pins of Mickey Mouse and Tinker Bell, and had fun working on my pin collection. The morning of the 4th, we were each given a little non-Disney flag pin and a Mickey Mouse pin saluting the USO(!) as we entered the park.

Back home in Tucson, the Aspen fire on Mount Lemmon was sending a fair amount of smoke into the city below. Between that and the summer heat, we were glad to get out of town for a while.

So where will we be this year? Here in Tucson, in the heat, with the monsoon not yet arrived. Yuck.

Extra credit: Note your other favorite historical event that happened on July 4th (here's a list). Birthdays/deaths of notable people count as well.

Well, there's some cool stuff on the July 4th events list in Wikipedia, no doubt about it. The one I knew about was the deaths of Jefferson and Adams, fifty years after that little thing that wrote with Franklin was accepted by the Continental Congress. But the other stuff includes a sentimental favorite for me:

1817 - At Rome, New York, United States, construction on the Erie Canal begins.

Remnants of the Eric Canal were as close as three miles or so from our house in Manlius as I was growing up. At least one two-story building in nearby Fayetteville had some kind of hook outside an upper window, to facilitate hauling up cargo. In sevenths of eighth grade, I participated in a walkathon, "Walk to Save the County," which was supposed to raise money to clean up and preserve bits of the Erie Canal. Before the canal, Syracuse was malaria-ridden swamp, and Manlius was the area crossroads. Governor DeWitt Clinton championed the canal, in recognition of which the village and town of DeWitt were named. I lived thre until I was four years old. Discontinuous U.S. President Grover Cleveland was also pro-Canal, in recognition of which...oh, never mind.

Clippa cloppa, clippa cloppa, sing! Along the way, for we are coming to a town! Now haul away, Along the Eeer-ie-eee Canal!
--descant to Erie Canal song.

By the way, this is as good an opportunity as any to mention that the next Round Robin Photo Challenge topic, as suggested by Cosette, is Americana! Be there. Aloha!


All photos (except the ones of the pins) taken at Disneyland, July 4th, 2003.

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1 comment:

Becky said...

Ah HA! So you've got a thing for old canals too, eh? LOL And I never knew you'd spent time in our neck of the woods. Woo hoo for the Jersey Shore!