20 in 20: What I’ve Seen – Pops Goes the 4th!

Nothing rivals the Boston Pops musical accompaniment for their annual July 4th performance. Nothing. It is truly a spectacular event where the music and the explosions coincide with one another in a timely, synchronistic manner that fills the sky and my heart with delight.

I remember the first time I watched Pops Goes the Fourth from the beautifully manicured Esplanade with friends, all huddled together on a tiny blanket, occupying the last bit of grass real estate we could find.  The speakers lined the river, blasting the sweet sounds of our world renowned orchestra as we waited patiently for darkness to grace us.  None of us had been to Boston on the 4th before, and more so, none of us had ever sat riverside in front of the barge where the fireworks were set off.  This was a first of many.

Finally, the crowd quieted, and the show began.  The first firework was set off and lit the night sky with pure magnificence, and the power of hundreds of years of pride and freedom.  It exploded to the crash of a cymbal into the heavens, and slowly made its honorable way to the ground as its counterparts soared above us, in time with the music.  Each firework after was more magnificent than the one before, giving each American and non-American watching, reason to believe in this country.

I felt a personal sense of pride, as both a Bostonian and an American, as colors collided above me.  I loved this city, with its revolutionary essence and its history, dedicated to creating a more unified nation.  I was proud to be sharing the land of our ancestors, who fought to give the United States a chance at first, being a nation, and most of all, free.  Free from the monarchy, free from religion, free from laws that no longer applied.  Free to be.  And I sat there on the Esplanade, over ten years ago, knowing that I was and always will be, a product of our ancestors’ battles, both personal and political. That in this century, I still benefit from the strife they put forth, so that generations upon generations could live without the cold hand of a monarchial rule from afar, and instead perpetuate democracy as it was intended.  I knew that this was bigger than just some demonstrative tradition, but was rather the culmination of centuries of beliefs, pride, and justification for the ongoing fight to keep our citizens free.

I knew it then, and I know it now.  Boston is a place where so much of our country’s history began, and it is the place that keeps celebrating our country’s present and future.  Pops Goes the Fourth is one of the most revered events in the city, and I believe, will remain so for generations and generations to come.


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