Sigh, Satisfied Shrug, Smile. It’s Independence Day in DC.

Ahh, Independence Day. The blazing heat, the cookouts, the booze. Togetherness. And then there’s the fireworks. Everyone knows about the iconic show on the Mall, the Washington Monument serving as stoic backdrop. Thousands of cheering, sweaty people. This is our Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

The National Park Service put on a grand pyrotechnic display as always, for about 15 minutes last night. Quite the celebration. But everyone who lives in the city knows about the real party – the neighborhood fireworks. The enthusiasm never ceases to astonish. People from all over the city set off fireworks for hours, peppering the night sky like candles on a panoramic birthday cake.

The higher up you are the better. From the rooftop of a building on H Street, I could see almost everything, from the Capitol dome to the Washington Monument to RFK to the Shrine. Cracks, bangs, and bright lights everywhere. The fireworks were set off in backyards, empty lots, and streets all over town and went from at least 8pm to midnight (when I finally went to bed).

This tradition seems to get bigger and better every year, and transplant transients are always wowed by the staggering display. It’s humbling to see such patriotic pride, and is a sight to behold; truly an amazing treat. Maybe next year I’ll get in on the action.

Happy Independence Day, DC.

Written by Joel Church.

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