I think it was about three years ago. 1999. Melanie and I had made a snap decision to take the Metro downtown to the mall. We didn’t have anything planned, but we were going to get off at Gallery Place Chinatown and miss all of that Fourth of July traffic.
We didn’t miss that traffic. It was packed.
We get off at the Chinatown metro stop and we started walking along towards the fireworks display, at least towards where we think it’s going to be held. We don’t find any spots. The mall is packed, so we keep walking, further and further away. Park police are ushering us towards some location until finally we hit a chain link fence. “Terrific,” we think. This is the end of the road. Fireworks are going to look tiny from here.
We hardly get to sit down when suddenly, not forty feet in front of us, just beyond the chain link fence–the first of the fireworks rockets into the sky. We had to lay down flat on our backs to watch the fireworks. Fireworks which were exploding directly overhead. It was beautiful and unsettling at the same time. Beautiful, in the fact that the display took up my entire field of vision. Unsettling, because it looked like the still lit fireworks were coming straight down at us.
I’d seen them before on television and from a distance, but seeing them directly overhead, lighting up the entire sky was overwhelming.
God bless the Chinese.