Post written by Nathan Lo, 2016 ILF Fellow
Monday, July 4th, 2016
On an obscure, gloomy, misty Monday, the citizens of Washington D.C. all gathered around, whether it be outside in the open rain, or next to the closest window in their homes, for the upcoming brilliant work of art in the sky. They were all waiting for the glorious July 4th fireworks of Washington D.C.
On 2016’s Independence Day, I, like many of my other fellow interns, were keenly excited for the infamous fireworks of Washington D.C. Hundreds of people come out every year on this national holiday to claim a spot in the multiple lawns spread throughout Washington. On this particular year, the American people even trudged through the mud and the constant, on-pouring rain to witness the 15-minute firework display.
For the next two hours, we patiently sat in a small group pile, all holding umbrellas over our heads to shield ourselves from the unrelenting rain. We talked. We played on our phones. We endured the water trickling from the canopies of our umbrellas down to the clothing that we wore.
And then finally, we hear the first round of pops and bangs of the night. A distinct sound that we all recognize: the sound of fireworks.
The fireworks of Washington D.C. are incomparable to all the fireworks I have seen in my life. Growing up in a suburban neighborhood of Houston, I have never seen a real live, 15-minute display of pure firework magic. Most of the fireworks in my town are set off by locals, and I grew up watching these fireworks in the backyard of my house. As I stared into the sky, I watched the unrelenting onslaught of firework after firework. Despite the heavy fog and mist, the entire sky suddenly came alive with vibrant colors everywhere: purple after blue, blue after yellow, orange after red, green after white, the firework show just created a massive chain reaction in the sky, colors being set off everywhere; it’s as if the weather forecast had turned from misty clouds with rain to rainbow clouds raining colors.
At the end, we were left feeling awed at the masterpiece in the sky that we just witnessed. It’s a special experience that I wouldn’t forget, and I now understand why so many people travel to Washington D.C. on July 4th to witness the fireworks. I’m extremely grateful to ILF for the wonderful opportunities I have received thus far since coming here, and I look forward to the future events to come.