The 4th invokes so many thoughts and feelings for people because of all that it represents. While this is a great opportunity for a stirring, patriotic moment, the 4th always takes me back to a Sunday lunch when my grandmother kept telling me about a fire someone started years earlier shooting off fireworks. The conversation came up because I was going, that night, to shoot fireworks with a friend. We would be out in the country shooting them over a clay ravine. No hint of potential fire.

We were having a blast and everything was great with only one misfire – a bottlerocket that flew off behind us. Weird but everything seemed OK and we kept firing away. It was a few minutes later when my friend yelled “FIRE!” I turned around, saw a fire, turned back around to light another bottlerocket when realization clicked in. Yep, that was a fire. Our little misfired bottlerocket had gone behind us into a pile of dead pine needles. At this point the fire was a good 8 feet across and growing…growing towards the house of the brother of my friend who was out of town.

I’ll spare you all the crazy details (I learned what a party line phone was that night) but the fire was eventually put out with the help of the fire department who got there more than an hour after we had been fighting to contain it on our own.

If you are shooting fireworks this weekend…don’t start a fire. Take some time to remember what we celebrate and be safe.

Grace and peace to you.