Marciano Young, 5, plays with a sparkler before the fireworks show in Saginaw, Mich., Monday evening, July 4. (Matt Dixon/AP)
Year after year, we insist on risking life and limb to watch displays of pyrotechnics, because it’s what we’ve always done.
In 1777, Philadelphia celebrated the first anniversary of the nation with 13 gunshots, a string of toasts, parades, speeches, and — of course — a fireworks display.
On the nation’s 235th birthday, fireworks were set off once again, in baseball fields, from barges floating in the water, over monuments, and in countries where our soldiers were stationed abroad. See photos of the combustible brilliance below:
Fireworks are launched from barges on the Hudson River in New York. (Seth Wenig/AP) U.S. Marines Jenna Ahles, 20, of La Crosse, Wis., right, and Jack Eubanks, 25, of Kennesaw, Ga., kiss while fireworks explode over Washington while viewing from the Jefferson Memorial. (Cliff Owen/AP) Fireworks fill the sky over Honolulu for the Independence Day celebration. Thousands of Oahu residents and visitors gathered at Magic Island and Ala Moana Beach Park to see the annual Fourth of July fireworks show. (Eugene Tanner/AP) Fireworks light up the night sky during the Fourth of July show over Lake Coeur d'Alene in Idaho. (Jerome A Pollos/AP) The United States Marine Corps War Memorial, better known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, is seen in Arlington, as fireworks burst over Washington, during the annual Fourth of July display. The Washington Monument and the Capitol can be seen in the distance. (Carolyn Kaster/AP) Los Angeles Angels' players and their families watch fireworks after their baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Anaheim Calif. The Angels won 5-1. (Christine Cotter/AP) Fireworks explode behind a life-size, inflatable head of the Statue of Liberty at Gas Works Park in Seattle during the Family 4th on Lake Union celebration. (Joshua Trujillo/AP) Fireworks explode over the Hudson River in New York. (Seth Wenig/AP) The Empire State Building, with red, white and blue lights, is seen from across the East River in Queens, as fireworks explode over the Hudson River during the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks show. (Kathy Kmonicek/AP) Green fireworks are photographed using a long exposure in Staunton. (Pat Jarrett/The News Leader/AP) Fireworks light up the night sky behind the Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse in St. Louis. (Jeff Roberson/AP) The July 4th celebratory fireworks are seen exploding in air over San Francisco Bay with San Francisco in the background. (David Paul Morris/Getty Images) Fireworks explode for Fourth of July celebrations after the New York Mets played against the Los Angeles Dodgers in their MLB National League baseball game in Los Angeles. The Mets won the game. (Alex Gallardo/Reuters) Independence Day fireworks illuminate the sky over the Hudson River and a portion of Manhattan's West Side Monday. (Karly Domb Sadof/AP) People watch Fourth of July fireworks on a sandbar in Barnstable Harbor, Mass., on Independence Day. (Mike Segar/Reuters) A view of Fourth of July fireworks on the Mall. (Tracy A Woodward/The Washington Post)