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Did You Know: Why Fireworks on July 4th?

Nyack 2009 Fireworks July 4th. Photo Credit: Dave Zornow

Photo: July 4th Nyack 2009 Fireworks. The 2016  Village of Nyack Independence Day celebration is scheduled for Mon July 4th in Memorial Park on the Hudson River. Credit: Dave Zornow

Fireworks are synonymous with July 4th celebrations in the United States. In a letter to his wife Abigail, founding father John Adams wrote “the second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epocha, in the history of America. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.” Well, Adams was right on regarding the big celebration part; not so much with the date (also, what’s a Shew?). That’s because Congress gave a green light to American independence on July 2, 1776, but didn’t approve the actual Declaration of Independence until July 4.  In 1777, the cities of New York and Boston included fireworks as part of their celebrations, but the use of fireworks on July 4th spread relatively slowly.  The firing of canons, muskets and parades were more common at first, because fireworks were expensive and hard to manage safely.  In the 1830s chemists figured out how to produce a variety of colors of fireworks and with the Star Spangled Banner and, namely, the words rocket’s red glare, becoming popular in the late nineteenth century, fireworks became entrenched as something to be seen on the Fourth of July across the country.

Here’s the week at a glance
at the Nyack Library.


  • Hobby Town USA presents Master Ben, Registration required, 4p
  • Shakespeare Discussion Group, 4p
  • FREE Assistance with NYS Health Insurance Programs, 5p


  • Local History Room Open Hours, 10a – 12p
  • Fiction Writers Workshop – New members welcome, 11a


  • Mother Goose, 10:30a
  • Red Cross Blood Drive, 11:30a – 4:30p


Full STEAM Ahead, Registration required, 4:30p


Toddler Time, 11a


Seed Exchange Open Hours,
10a – 2p

Rockets Red Glare: The Home Edition

If you are thinking about setting off some fireworks in your own backyard, consider that there are worse hazards than fighting traffic if you go pyro on July 4th. The American Pyrotechnics Association Consult fireworks laws by state. If you live in New Jersey, fergitaboutit. New York says NO to all aerial consumer fireworks but is good with ground-based or hand held sparkling devices including cylindrical fountains, cone fountains, and wood sparklers/dipped sticks, party poppers, and snappers.

Red Cross Blood Drive,  Wed from 11:30a to 4:30p

Is it coincidental that there’s a Wednesday blood drive right before the Independence Day weekend? We can’t say. But we can tell you to visit and use the sponsor Code NyackLibrary to make an appointment. Or if you have sparkers in your mouse hand and can’t click, you can always call or call 1-800-Red-Cros (1-800-733-2767), too.

Did You Know comes to you each Monday on NyackNewAndViews, sponsored by the Nyack Library.

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