When I was growing up in St. Louis, the Fourth of July meant one thing: fireworks. Lots and lots of fireworks, enough for my father to happily cough up more than $100 after driving my brother and I to a roadside stand just far enough outside the city to be legal. Black Cats, bottle rockets, lady fingers, colored smoke bombs, M-60s and a 21-gun salute as a grand finale that we somehow managed to set off before our suburban neighbors called the police — or, more likely, before they came out to join us. It was the one day of the year on which gun-powdered pyrotechnics were officially sanctioned by my family and largely ignored by law enforcement. On the other 364 days, I was usually told to quit shooting my .22 rifle near private property or to stop building miniature fires in the backyard.
Fourth of July offers journalists cause to celebrate
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