Editorial: Leave fireworks to the experts

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 3, 2019

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I love fireworks.

Don’t ask me why, because it doesn’t make any sense.

Probably my first experience at handling fireworks came when I was a child, visiting relatives in Alabama. I held a M-80 a bit too long in my hand. No damage, other than my cousins freaking out. It scared the you know what out of me. For those of you who don’t know what an M-80 is, it’s something like a regular firecracker on steroids. They could split the sides of a mailbox.

I was even younger when I saw my first professional fireworks display, probably within a couple of years of that M-80 incident. We had gone to a baseball game at Ernie Shore Field in Winston-Salem, ate sandwiches we had brought and watched what we could see of the game from the parking lot, then reveled in the colorful display in the sky after the game.

I was hooked.

Years later, I was working in the town of Wake Forest. The July 4th fireworks display that year advertised the largest rocket ever launched. I wanted to go, and friends had us take along their two children, ages 8 and 10. There was music and plenty of fireworks. We were having a grand ole time. Then the big one launched. We were all excited. It went up about 50 yards, and kaboom. Balls of fire hurtled into the crowd in several directions. The impact of the kaboom broke the glass in the stadium press box, sending glass onto onlookers below. A ball of fire landed right next to us on a grassy knoll. The 8-year-old girl with me began to scream and beat on my chest to get her out of there. That couldn’t be done. It was crowded, and ambulance after ambulance came to the scene. There was no way to escape. Luckily, the most serious injuries were from cuts from the broken glass.

You would think it would deter me from liking fireworks, but it didn’t.

As I got older, I loved to purchase “the good kind” from across state lines. I shot them often; almost always as a visitor was leaving, just to give them something to remember us by. Even a few of those exploded too soon, making me scramble to put out embers.

But I kept firing.

No more.

A few years back, I had let my little dog out to do his business. A neighbor up the road decided to launch some fireworks of their own. My little dog ran. I searched and searched, but couldn’t find him. It was hours before he showed up back at the house, still scared.

I decided right then that I would no longer shoot fireworks. What if I caused another dog to be lost from their family? I couldn’t live with that thought. Fireworks are fun, but not to dogs. Fireworks scare dogs, sometimes to the point of running so far they can’t find their way back home.

I’m a proud American, but it’s best to leave fireworks to the experts — the ones who announce when they’ll be lighting the fuse, or pushing the button, or whatever they do these days to start a display.

The Davie County Rec & Parks always puts on a great fireworks show, scheduled this year for Saturday, July 6, right after a concert by Darrell Harwood in Rich Park. Rain date is Sunday for the fireworks.

Go and have fun, but leave your four-legged friends at home. And don’t let them out that night — without a leash. Keep them close by. It’s probably a good idea to keep a close eye on them for several days around the 4th — because fireworks are fun — just not for dogs.

Mike Barnhardt is editor of the Davie County Enterprise-Record.

Respect Quote of the Week

“When I think of the word respect, I think about respecting yourself first and others around you. I show respect to others by being a helping hand and being there just to be a listening ear. By volunteering, it’s all about giving back, not always benefiting yourself but seeing what you can do for others.”

— PJ Peck