Happy Fourth America!

I haven’t seen a July in Indiana in 14 years. It’s always been some other month, but never July. And, it was almost deafening.

14 years ago, no one was allowed to have REAL fireworks. No firecrackers. No cherry bombs. No Roman candles. Nothing like that.

Now, the neighbors can compete with the municipality over who has the best fireworks display. The problem for me, was that there was another competition going on.

In my head.

Just a few years ago, my neighborhood in south Jerusalem was shot at almost every day by Yasir Arafat’s Tanzim militia. And last night sounded a lot like what I heard from the bedroom of my Jerusalem apartment.

True, last night’s bombs were harmless explosions in the night air, but the bombs that I remember took the lives of neighbors. And, there are few sounds that compare to the dull, rhythmic boom of automatic cannon fire.

Last night, I kept telling myself that all this was a birthday celebration of a truly great nation. But, there was that less developed, more instinctive part of my mind that told me otherwise.

Oh, I was okay. I was fine. It just felt surreal.

I suspect that a lot of us living in Israel would have said the same thing about last night. Just as I also suspect that the more we celebrate with fireworks, the more the memory of those who have tried to kill us will fade.

Happy Fourth of July, America!