Street Smart Chicago

By the Dusk’s Early Light: Waving at Independence

City Life, Events Add comments

fireworks-with-fuzzes-and-plane-lights-in-background-738921There is no gunplay from this vantage point, nor threat of it. The self-styled pirates captaining the boats moored in Monroe Harbor, just yards from the barge that launches the fireworks this Independence Eve, are more likely to plunder from the comfort of a trading desk. Just the annoying applause of foghorns bleating from nearby vessels when intoxicated enthusiasm is unleashed by the breathtaking spectacle of explosions in the sky so proximate that you see the ashes fall, and smell the smoke gathering on the water. And hear the thunderous booms of cannons in a historical distance; is this Francis Scott Key’s muse? Then the horn, and the reminder of what our Founding Fathers risked their lives for: so that once a year, the inner knucklehead in so many might be so freely unleashed. And then, as quickly as the premature show begins, it ends, and the quietude of the watery remove returns. On the shore, the millions move away, sirens and helicopter spotlights framing their retreat in a battleground of a twenty-first century. But, here, look, aren’t those kids on that boat over there getting in the water? They’re naked! Ah, freedom. (Brian Hieggelke)

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