Here in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, we celebrate our independence from our former British overlords (permitting us rampant handgun crime and overpriced healthcare) by viewing huge displays of fireworks, as well as stealthily setting off our own illegal versions while drunk as hell. Yes, it sounds like a cliché, and it’s also perfectly true.
Unlike my current residence of North Carolina, fireworks are able to be obtained legally in Florida, and while living there, I found Independence Day and New Year’s Eve to be, shall we say, rather interesting. After viewing the big official town display, I drove home through a war zone of palls of smoke and fire trails arcing over the road, showering the car with the debris from the rockets, then sat outside and watched the neighbors setting off their own displays. Seen here, someone is launching rockets from the middle of my apartment complex, right alongside the leasing office. Also of note, the inevitable mislaunch can be seen detonating in the bushes.
[There are limits, and the police did eventually shut this display down, without even a high-speed chase or anything involving naked drunk people – while what you read about Florida is mostly true, it’s not constant…]
I have always wanted to be flying over Florida on one of these nights, since I imagine it has to look fantastic from the air. And yes, this is safer than you might think; fireworks really don’t go terribly high, and they detonate much lower than even light planes typically operate. There’s a greater risk of running into another aircraft than of being struck by a fiery blossom.
But naturally, someone had to step up that idea with modern technology; Jos Stiglingh mounted one of those xtremecooldood video cameras to a quadcopter drone and filmed a fireworks display from ‘rather close range.’ Check it out:
Now roll that back and pay attention at 1:13 to see a direct impact from one of the glowing embers. Beats the hell out of sparklers any day…