Fourth of July Quotes: Fireworks

Fourth of July, in the United States — It is the signal — the “banner on the outward wall” for sin and shooting crackers, pedantry and pinwheels, oranges and orations, sky-blue toilettes and sky-rockets. A day when patriotism pops and bursts about like so many bottles of sillery… ~Henry Howard Paul, “Fourth of July in the United States,” 1851

The Fourth of July, when we get to play our favorite American guessing game — fireworks or gunshots? ~Author unknown

A good many elderly people are afflicted with dreadful head‑aches on the Fourth of July; but I suspect they don’t mind it very much, for in every puff of blue smoke that wreathes itself under their noses, they see a boy’s or a girl’s happy face. ~William H. Rideing, “Fire-Crackers and the Fourth of July,” 1874

Whiz go the rockets, cleavingly into the air with many a snap, crack, and whir! Some shower silver stars, others red — as if a cherubim had thrown away a handful of rubies — perhaps green, orange, and blue. How magnificent the spectacle! High and loftily it mounts, like the impatient bolt of a war-horse; gradually the sound diminishes; we hear a gentle report, like a pistol discharged high in the air, and then the scattered lights dance on the bottom of the darkness, with fairy-like brilliancy. Now they flicker and run in grotesque circles; all expire save one, which seems coquetting with the air currents — ah! its turn has come; like a bright hope quickly crushed, it has fled, and all again is dark and solemn above. ~Henry Howard Paul, “Fourth of July in the United States,” 1851

Somehow the Fourth had its quiet moments, too, even for little feet and childish voices, and small hands stole into each other as we sat looking at our fire‑works with a sense that independence was a fine thing to declare. ~Lucy C. Lillie, “Memories of the Fourth,” Harper’s Young People, 1885 June 30th

Two hundred and twenty-seven years ago a bunch of guys got together on the Fourth of July and decided — because they didn’t have any cherry bombs — they would declare some self-evident truths. ~The West Wing, “Jefferson Lives” [S5, E3, 2003], writing credits Carol Flint and Josh Singer, spoken by the character President Jed Bartlet

Once more the air is stirred by drifting flakes of emerald fire that, illumining the space around, reveal tens of thousands of spectators collected, with up-turned eyes, gazing at the pyrotechnic wonders. Up bound the serpents — orange and brazen. How they twizzle and fizzle with their bright curves in the soft night air! Then the Roman candles pop out the little red balls of fire, suggesting to the mind an endless visitation of electrical sugar-plums. The wheels flash and dart forth their spiral threads of light…. This grand display is the omega of the day’s expenditure of gunpowder. ~Henry Howard Paul, “Fourth of July in the United States,” 1851

Fourth of July! It is a day, in the United States, in a manner described to the Goddess of Gunpowder. Ælius, in the classic fable, dedicated one day in the week to burn incense to the memory of Jupiter, and the patriotic, liberty-loving citizens of the United States set aside this day of every year to explode gunpowder by way of commemoration of the Declaration of Independence—the spirit of which document is still cherished with characteristic national fervor. It has often struck us as being an odd way of celebrating an event in the annals of history by burning, whizzing, and streaming fireworks. The whole country, from the borders of Maine to the mouth of the Mississippi, is a scene of din and smoke…. Shops are shut, tradesmen suspend business, and even bankers and usurers seem to agree that toil shall have a gala-day…. The rich and the poor alike make merry. ~Henry Howard Paul, “Fourth of July in the United States,” 1851

What was that cluster of stars that fell with a sudden hiss into the blue waters of the bay. A sky-rocket? True — it is time for the fireworks to commence; and now we shall have the really brilliant phase of the festivities of this day of jubilee. Bang! bang! bang!… Turn an ear to the city, and the noise is terrific. Glance along the vista; how the little shooting-crackers sparkle and coruscate, as if the stars had condescended to come upon earth, and have a regular jolly row, just for the fun of the thing. ~Henry Howard Paul, “Fourth of July in the United States,” 1851

A statistician made a few calculations and discovered that since the birth of our nation more lives had been lost in celebrating independence than in winning it. ~Curtis Billings

To-morrow is Hell-fire Day, that English holiday which we have celebrated, every Fourth of July, for a century and a quarter in fire, blood, tears, mutilation and death, repeating and repeating and forever repeating these absurdities because neither our historians nor our politicians nor our schoolmasters have wit enough to remind the public that the Fourth of July is not an American holiday. However, I doubt if there is a historian, a politician, or a schoolmaster in the country that has ever stopped to consider what the nationality of that day really is. I detest that English holiday with all my heart; not because it is English, and not because it is not American, but merely because this nation goes insane on that day, and by the help of noise and fire turns it into an odious pandemonium. The nation calls it by all sorts of affectionate pet names, but if I had the naming of it I would throw poetry aside and call it Hell’s Delight. ~Mark Twain, 1908