The Rockets' Red, Blue or Gold Flares

... an Independence Day Blast

by Debbi Collar

Parades, flags and fireworks.

All of the above are part of America's Independence Day celebrations. July
4th begins with parades down many Main Sreets in the cities and towns
throughout our nation. Children and adults wave "Old Glory," our red, white
and blue flag with its 50 stars and 13 red and white stripe, as marchers pass
by them. Then night falls and anxiously we await the fireworks displays in
our communities.

As many of our Melrose Mirror readers look for the best spots in which to
view the displays, try a little trivia with your guests if you are the
host/hostess of the day.

Who, among your friends and relatives can name the person responsible for
suggesting fireworks for Independence Day?

What year did "he" make this suggestion? (Answers below)

Once the first portion of the trivia test is complete, move on to the next
phase. Ask your guests to identify each of the fireworks designs by name as
the flares burst into various colors of red, blue, green or orange with gold
and silver sparkles shimmering aginst the night sky.

Consider printing a study guide from your computer and hand it out to your
guests before the fireworks begin. Printed below is a partial list of the  most common fireworks seen at these events. The guide should assist you and
your guests get started with correctly identifying the fireworks by name.

Peony - the most common of all the shells tat burn without a tail effect.

Chryanthemum - similar to a peony in that it, too, has a break of colored
stars that burn for a very short time.  Viewers can tell the difference between the two flares (peony and chrysanthemum) as a crackling sound is heard
following the burst of the chrysanthemum.

Dahlia - this flare as well is similar to both the peony and the
chrysanthemum.  The difference being that the Dahlia has fewer and larger stars.

The Willow - another flare that is similar to the chrysanthemum. As its flames extinguish, the result is a willow branch effect.

Ring - when watching fireworks displays, if a smiley face, heart or clover is
seen within the circle, it is simpy called "the ring."

Horsetail - the shell has stars that leave behnd a short trail, hence the smoke trail shape brings about an image of the tail of a horse.

Waterfall - similar to a horsetail but the stars burn for a long time.

Crossette - the effect of this star shaped design is that it shoots out in four directions. At one time, crossette could easily be recognized as its colors were limited to gold or silver. Today, crossettes  have a variety of colors, including red,white. and green.

Now, have you had enough time to consider the answers to the questions of
who is said to have first suggested fireworks for Independence Day and in
what year?  It was a man who would later become he second President of the
United States. His name - John Adams.

Although the origin of fireworks dates back to 7th Century China, Adams
suggssted the use of "illuminations" in a letter to his wife, Abigail, following the Seocnd Continental Congress' adoption of the first draft of the
Declaration of Independence. Historians remark that Adams included these
words in his letter, "I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by
succeeding generations as the great anniversary fetival. It ought to be
commemorated as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion
to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized by pomp and parade with shows,
games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires,and illuminations, from one end of the
Continent to the other." The year he wrote the letter was 1776.

Congress,authorized the use of fireworks in 1777. Philadelphia was one of
the first to celebrate the 1st anniversary of the adoption of the final draft of the Declaration of Independdence with such a display of "iluninations."
Boston followed suit. Yet it was not util 1783 that July 4th offcially became a holiday and then, only in some areas.

Have some fun with your family and friends and enjoy your 4th of July

Photo of fireworks submitted by Cynthia Ouellette.

**History facts and information on fireworks from Wikipedia.

July 4, 2014

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