I spent then next day recovering from Tuesday night’s display of fireworks by neighbors who apparently made the long trek to Idaho for Chinese fireworks, or found some souvenirs of the Middle Eastern wars in working order. My house shook with explosions and rockets exploded above the neighborhood in sprays of fire that rained down around us. My two cats and two dogs bunkered under my bed, and moaned in despair as the building rattled with multiple percussions. My wife slept, as she has been immunized by my snoring.
In my old country, we exploded our domestic arsenal on November 5, when fireworks were much less intercontinental than here. We would burn a figure of a man — an effigy of Guy Fawkes, a royalist who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament — atop a huge bonfire. Every year we lost citizens to these fires thanks to excesses of beer and to the habit of folks going to sleep in unlit bonfires the day before.
November in the tiny, limey homeland has the advantage of cold, wet ground and early nights, so a little less flammable. The bonfire is spectacular, and is used to bake potatoes.
This week, Ben Franklin’s old house in London was opened for tours — a house where Franklin worked for years trying to persuade the Brits to lighten taxation on a new country trying to mind its own business.
Britain is very fond of its offspring, and also celebrates with us here, although they don’t understand why we have such taxes now. After all, when England minded the store taxes were just 5 percent.
My time here now spans two decades and my son was born here. I honestly feel that there is a continuum from there to here. I do not feel alien in either country. It is, according to Sir Winston Churchill, part of being an English-speaking nation. It is a relationship based on a deep common understanding, deeper than politics, almost spiritual in nature.
I celebrate the independence that recognizes our dependence on a common wealth of faith and linked ideals. Happy Fourth of July, my fellow freedom folks of the United States.
Colin Brown is Pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on Locust Road in Boardman.