• The Fourth of July is upon us again.
Since the very first celebration of Independence Day, fireworks and picnics have been wedded together.
Judging by the many fireworks stands, there are still a lot of people, children and adults, who fire fireworks, legally or illegally.
Before Midwest City became one of the metro areas that banned fireworks, I fired my share of Ladyfingers, lit some Black Snakes and twirled sparklers.
My cousin, David Young, fired off a Cherry Bomb that left nearly a 3-inch hole in the sidewalk in front of his house.
That hole is still there and may have been the beginning of my awareness of how dangerous fireworks can be.
So, being content to leave the explosions to the professionals, I give you this ”Sooner Stanza” by Emery Winn who wrote this poem for The Oklahoman in 1953:
“JULY the Fourth is all but here… But with the fireworks ban… I hope there’s little that we hear…Of crackers ‘neath a can.. Or those torpedoes that they shoot…To make me jump in fright…Though once I thought that I was cute…When I took such delight …In scaring folks half out their wits…By noise that I would make…In blowing things to little bits… And cause the ground to shake…There was no ban to hinder me…On Independence day… I was plain catastrophe…Who turned some people gray.. By stunts I pulled on July 4…in making things explode… But now I wince at fireworks’ roar… And take off down the road… And so I’m thankful for the ban…The dangers are so great…I’m just an old and nervous man…That fireworks agitate.” EMERY WINN
Be safe and check The Oklahoman in print or online for the latest in Fourth of July celebrations and fireworks displays.
• Eighteen years ago, in July of 1995, Oklahoma City was still recovering from the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The Fourth of July had the annual parade, flag raising ceremonies were held, marking the return of the flag to full staff and celebrations were held honoring the first responders and rescuers.
Most people can remember where they were when the bomb exploded and remember the sights and sounds as media brought us first hope for survivors and then resignation for the fate of the victims.
Photographs told the stories and none better than the simple photograph of a fireman carrying a small child away from the scene of the blast.
That photo of firefighter Chris Fields and baby, Baylee Almon, “brought home the horror of the scene to millions who saw it on the front page of newspapers,” said The Oklahoman on April 21, 1995.
The photo created its own controversy that played out in the courts when two different people took virtually the same picture at the same time.
Charles Porter and Lester LaRue both took photos of Chris Fields carrying Baylee Almon, but the reception they would receive would be very different.
Charles Apple of The Orange County Register blogs about the story behind the photograph at ”The Visual Side of Journalism.”
Access that blog at this site
The Oklahoman’s reporters and photographers kept the state and the nation informed about the bombing from the rescue and recovery efforts through Tim McVeigh’s trial and execution, giving information, insight and help, as it continues to do today.
The Oklahoman’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing stories, photographs and graphics are available for access at http://newsok.com/archives
• 100 years ago
The Oklahoman reported on the front page of July 1, 1913, that the western part of the state had received good rainfall, with Custer County reporting 2 inches of rain. Tillman County reported that it “was visited by a splendid rain.”
If you come across the interesting or the odd or if you just have a question on Oklahoma history I might be able to answer, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org