On New Year’s Even in Damascus, Syria, the sky used to dance with the sparkle and splendor of July 4th. Fireworks were banned some time ago, so these bright pops of light no longer fill the skies, but the sounds remain. Sounds that create a rattle in your breastbone. The ears of the residents echo with the boom of not fireworks, but gunfire. In Damascus, the year begins with murder.
It’s strange to watch fourth of July fireworks with that knowledge. Thinking of the fireworks in Damascus and here in the U.S. reminded me how lucky we are, to have the simple luxuries we almost never think of. To have the fireworks, the picnics, playing catch in the park. These small things remind us of the big things easily taken for granted: freedom of speech, the capability to elect leaders, and so much more.
The boom of the fireworks this fourth of July brought me to the stories I’ve heard about violence in Syria. But then I enjoyed the fireworks, for the freedom they symbolize. I hope they can come to symbolize that in Damascus again soon.
“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” -Mark Twain