Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, but the season isn’t in full swing until the Fourth of July.
The upcoming holiday and the weekends surrounding it provide Rhode Islanders a chance to spend time with family and friends, enjoy the outdoors and celebrate the nation’s freedom.
Fireworks, of course, are part of the very fabric of the Fourth. Already, they have become a part of the nighttime atmosphere in many local neighborhoods, and we expect they will remain so in the weeks to come.
What we hope will be far less common are reports of injuries or damage resulting from the irresponsible and unsafe use of fireworks.
Each year, thousands of people nationwide are injured in fireworks-related accidents. In some cases, lives have been lost. In all cases, the tragic and often life-altering consequences were absolutely preventable.
Presently, state law allows only ground-based and handheld fireworks – such as sparklers and fountains – for public sale and use. Of course, many other types of fireworks are available elsewhere and make their way into local celebrations.
Any kind of firework has the potential, if used improperly, to cause serious injury or death, or to cause a fire.
We ask those who make fireworks a part of their celebration to do so in a responsible manner. Keep in mind that in densely populated neighborhoods, a mishap carries the risk of homes and lives lost if a blaze were to break out.
We ask, too, that revelers be respectful of their neighbors. Remember that the sights and sounds of fireworks might affect the most vulnerable among us – seniors, those dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, even pets – in deeply negative ways.
Independence is a proud moment for Rhode Islanders and all Americans, and it should be celebrated as such. We respect the right of all to use fireworks, as the law allows, in marking the occasion.
We simply ask those who do so to temper the revelry with common sense, and to hold paramount the safety and well being of their neighbors and loved ones.
Let our celebration of the American spirit also be a celebration of community spirit.