Independence Day

This week is a light writing week, due to holiday adventures. Tomorrow is Independence Day, perhaps America’s most important holiday as a country. The day we secured our right to govern ourselves, a country separate from Britain. As the memes have been saying “The Original #Brexit”. Or as I think to myself sadly, a holiday whose meaning is as lost as Christmas is nowadays.

Sure there are those who still remember that the holiday represents our ancestors standing up for their beliefs, and standing up for our rights and ensuring a future of freedom for us today. Most people remember the sacrifice and kindly thank our troops and veterans. Many people celebrate our freedom. This is great, and in the true spirit, of course.

Maybe it’s just the small corner I live in, but for the past three years, I’ve felt like most people here have forgotten that this is a holiday of reverence. Something to celebrate the hard work and sacrifice our ancestors put in and the founding of principles we are “free” to argue over today. I’m not looking to get political, so I will stop here.

My real and truest beef with how people in this area celebrate the holiday is the fireworks. Many combat veterans or active duty military personnel live in my neighborhood. Most, if not all of them, have PTSD. The irregular and unpredictable interval with which my neighbors set off their illegal fireworks in the street is jarring and uncomfortable to me, and I know many of my neighbors. A fair few of them have severe PTSD episodes as a result and despite phone calls to the police in the past, our other neighbors remain inconsiderate and untouched by it all. No fines, no police warnings or even an appearance.

The problem here is rampant, and the lack of consideration for others is astounding to me. Last year, because they set these fireworks off in the street right outside my bedroom window and also mere inches from my driveway, there were scorch marks in my driveway and on the road. I found firework scraps and charred pieces under my car. Thankfully, I didn’t find any damage, but again, why should that be something I worry about?

fireworksandpetsNever mind that they set these horrible things off well past two in the morning, or that it’s not just one day, but the week leading up to and the week after the holiday that I deal with this. Never mind that it’s a terrifying experience for my dog, and she shakes in fear with each loud bang. Never mind that it’s right outside my window, and you never know if they’ve finally stopped, or they just went to buy more fireworks and there will be more sounds like gunfire as I try to sleep.

Now, to add to it all, I have a child. A five month old, who has never heard these sounds before, who wakes up crying, startled, and unable to identify the loud, sharp noises. As a mother, this ramps my anxiety up even farther, and frustrates me to no end. I see no solution, and that makes it worse for me. I feel the anxiety building and have no way to solve the problem and prevent my child and my dog from being exposed to the startling and confusing noises. And it makes me so mad that I cry.

All that being said, I love Independence Day and everything it stands for. I’m grateful to live in America, warts (as of late) and all. I am thankful for everything I have, my freedoms, my rights, and the relative safety I’m afforded from living here compared to some of the other countries out there.

I want to wish everyone a safe, happy, and hopefully quiet holiday, and hope that you enjoy it however you decide to celebrate.

– Monster Mama

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