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Presbyterian Manor residents share ‘explosive’ Independence Day memories

From explosions set off in the driveway to large-scale pyrotechnic displays, fireworks may be the number one way in which Americans celebrate our independence.

For many Rolla Presbyterian Manor residents, fireworks also figure in their favorite memories of the Fourth of July.

Illa Bell, Carman Medina-Torres, Evelyn Randall and Jo Ann Osick fondly recall enjoying fireworks with their families.

In small towns and big cities across the country, municipalities organize big fireworks displays. Illa and her family had a tradition of going into town to watch the fireworks show.

“They were some good times,” said the assisted living resident.

Carmen, Evelyn, and Jo Ann recall setting off firecrackers at home.

“Watching the kids smile and have fun was the best for me,” said health care resident Carmen, whose family also cooked food together on the holiday.

Evelyn and Jo Ann remember they weren’t allowed to set the fuses when they were children.

“We kids got the sparklers, and I would write my name in the sky,” said Evelyn, who lives in the health care neighborhood. “Oh, how I loved that!”

When Jo Ann was 14 or 15, she remembers her mother telling her father to let her light some of the firecrackers herself.

“I smiled from ear to ear, because that meant I was a big girl,” she said.

It’s no wonder fireworks are such a big part of Independence Day, as they have been a tradition since the very first celebrations in 1777.

In a letter he sent to his wife Abigail while attending the Constitutional Convention, John Adams described his vision for the holiday: “It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

The founding father was certainly onto something. For generations, Americans have been celebrating our country’s anniversary with spectacular “illuminations” that create lasting memories.

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