By Travis Sloat
The Fourth of July celebrations Wednesday were as different as the neighbors that held them.
Some chose to watch the fireworks display at the high school, some chose to stay at home with their families for food and fun, and some were more safety-minded — making sure their roofs were sprayed down to avoid any accidental fires.
Rebecca Batchelor, a cashier at Harps, was dressed to the nines in red, white, and blue when she attended the free fireworks show at the high school football field.
“I got off just in time for the fireworks,” said Batchelor as she straightened the flags attached to her shoulders. “Most years we go to my aunt’s house for fireworks, and afterwards all the men would see who had the biggest blisters on their thumbs. I’ve come to the school for the last few years though, and my favorite parts are the music and the finale.”
The finale certainly was something special, with a volley of fireworks launching into the air to the patriotic tune of “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood.
Bob and Patty Stone got the best of both worlds, as they were able to watch the show from the comfort of their front porch and watch their girls shoot Roman candles and light sparklers.
Bob, who owns several mobile home parks around the area, was also busy keeping his roof sprayed down to avoid any accidental fires.
“This is the busiest time of the year for us,” he said. “We don’t allow fireworks in our parks for safety’s sake, so I have to make sure people are following the rules and not setting any off.”
Other residents of Fort Gibson were setting off rockets, cannons, and anything else that whistled and sparkled when the fuse was lit.
Those staying in the Fort Gibson Nursing Home didn’t miss out on anything, and were treated to a show courtesy of their neighbors — a trio of families that elected Sage Stout their spokesperson.
“We do this every year,” said Stout, a freshman at Fort Gibson High School. “I really like the big booms. This is the celebration of our country’s independence. It makes me happy.”
And even though their celebrations differed, the families’ reasons for those celebrations were all very similar. Each person mentioned how thankful he or she was for the troops, current, former and fallen.
“I love the fact that we can get up in the morning and be free,” Batchelor said.
The Stones agreed.
“You have to think about why we’re here,” said Patty as she watched an artillery shell explode in the sky. “You have to thank all the people who made this possible for us.”
“I went to church this Sunday and no one threw a grenade in,” Bob said. “I think we all start to take that for granted at times.”
By Travis Sloat
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