I was eight. It was the 4th of July and we were at my grandparents house.
My grandfather had some real firecrackers. Big around as a road flare and about two inches long. They had long heavy green fuses sticking out of the side. He would put one under a coffee can in the driveway and light the fuse that stuck out under the side, then hustle back to where he had me standing.
BOOM! Loud as a shotgun. The can would launch up in the air about as high as the trees in the front yard and then drop back somewhere in the yard. We probably did that together for an hour. My grandmother and mother were not amused.
We had the old woven folding chairs out of the garage and put charcoal on the grill. Burgers, corn on the cob, baked beans, and Cott ginger ale.
When it got to dusk we lit sparklers and I ran around the yard waving them in circles.
Sometime about 8:30 we climbed in the old Ford station wagon and rode into town for the fireworks.
No one wondered if the flag was a symbol of oppression. The fireworks my grandfather set off rattled the windows but didn't bring the police. We were unashamedly patriotic and knew we lived in the greatest county in the world.
Someone should remember.