Old Diary

A new twist on the 4th

I know it’s a couple days after the 4th of July but I discovered something new and fascinating (to me) about Milwaukee in connection with the recent 4th of July fireworks display.  If you’ve ever been in Milwaukee during the Independence Day celebration you know that there is a mammoth fireworks display on the lakefront.  Shot off from barges offshore, the entire ground space near the Milwaukee Marina, the War Memorial Center, and the bluff just West of Lake Drive is filled with happy viewers and the display routinely gathers nearly half a million visitors.

Our RV sojourns have kept us out of Milwaukee these past 6 years and as a result when we took a walk on July 2 down to the Veterans Park area — Photo above — we were surprised to see changes from what we once knew as a routine.

We were accustomed to citizens bringing kids coaster wagons and tents and beer kegs and grills down to the lakefront park area at 5 a.m. on the morning of the 3rd (the fireworks being shot off on the eve of the 4th but this year we saw that the routine has changed over the years and quite a change it is.


A view of Milwaukee’s Bradford Beach, McKinley Marina, and Veteran’s Park. June of 2012

It seems that the county winks at camping in the blue area and people had already staked out 50 foot squares with yellow caution tape to mark their “reserved spot”  and set up tents and shelters of all sorts — in the area circled in blue.

Furthermore, RV’s are now allowed to drive out onto the parkland and to park facing the water if they are willing to pay the $150.00 fee for doing so.  As a result there can be a long string of RV’s in the RED marked area looking for the best possible view of the fireworks.

In the past our family never actually wanted to be THAT CLOSE to the event — we always brought blankets and a bottle of wine, some cheese and baguettes and sausages and we would sit on the hill overlooking the park from which vantage point we could see the entire area and the fireworks at a little greater distance ( and a little lower volume ) — and we could get to our car afterwards in under an hour and be back home in about that long.

It’s funny, you know how they say “You can never go back”  and it’s true.  Things always change.  Life is constantly altering — and you have to keep up.  I doubt we’ll try to get a ringside seat anymore.  I’ve seen a lot of fireworks displays; I’m not sure I want to fight the crowd to do it again.  but I’m sure there are a lot of other folks who just can’t wait till July 4, 2019!


2 thoughts on “A new twist on the 4th

  1. Years ago my family crossed the border to watch July 4th fireworks in Acme, Washington. It was spectacular, America knows how to put on a show, but what stuck in my head was a boy of 8 or 9 at my elbow. Beyond mesmerized, a little boy who said “God bless America’s glory” with irrefutable conviction. A chance innocent statement, pivotal in my understanding of vast differences between the fabric of our nations.
    At Canada Day on July 1st, we celebrate diversity, not glory. We count our blessing under nation, not God. Fireworks are secondary to community festivals. The air hums along with South Asian Bhangra music, Celtic fiddlers, traditional Zimbabwe folk songs and Peruvian wood flutes.
    Tough to explain why “God bless America’s glory” makes me sad. Hope you don’t take this the wrong way and happy 4th. 🙂


    • Never fear about me taking your comments the wrong way. I think we know each other pretty well; I hear your heart even if the individual words might sometimes jar.

      I may not know exactly how you felt but I can understand your sadness. In another way I share your feeling. This country isn’t very honest about wherein we put our trust. We pretend — even to ourselves — that we stand for one set of values but in practice we honor a completely different set of values. That duplicity will ultimately be our downfall. The house divided metaphor has been eating at the soul of this people for a long time….


      Liked by 1 person

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