Last night, we watched the Fourth of July fireworks from the balcony of a condo overlooking the Willamette Rive, not more than five or six blocks (and 19 floors!) away from the fireworks barge. One thing I love about Portland (at least from this particular vista) is the amazing proliferation of, uh - 'independent' fireworks displays visible all across the east side of the Willamette River. At one point David observed that you could see some kind of display about every inch across the hills, from the Sellwood Bridge on the south all the way up towards Vancouver, WA on the north.
We were able to see two 'official' displays from the balcony - one at Oaks Park, an old-fashioned amusement park near the Sellwood Bridge; the other, the city-sponsored display just under the Hawthorne Bridge. We knew the fireworks were about to begin when we realized that the traffic was stopped on the Hawthorne Bridge, and sure enough - moments later the sky lit up with brilliant reds, whites, greens, and yellow lights.
The thing I loved the most, though, was seeing the traffic on the Marquam Bridge (the route I-5 takes over the Willamette) come to a complete stop as everyone paused to watch the fireworks.
I love the thought that folks are willing to pause in their travels to enjoythe dance of lights.
So, Happy Birthday, USofA. I hope the Bill of Rights survives until your next birthday.