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Roughrider Days Fair Fireworks to color the Western Edge sky in red, white and blue

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According to City of Dickinson ordinance, “fireworks” include anything using fire as an ignition source, including but not limited to, bottle rockets, firecrackers and even sparklers. (Dickinson Press file photo)
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DICKINSON — As Western Edge residents reunite and relax with family and friends, hit the local lakes to cool off, or attend any of the many parades and community events over the 4th of July weekend, a national trend shows that pride in the country is at an 18-year low, according to a recent Gallup poll.

The Dickinson Press conducted a poll of southwest North Dakota residents, asking if they were proud to be an American. The results highlighted a Western Edge very much proud of Old Glory and her ways. The majority of those polled, 71%, answered in the affirmative when asked if they were proud of the United States, while 25% said they were ashamed of their country — 4% said they were neither proud nor ashamed.

Despite the waning national pride, one consistency is that Americans on Independence Day, often called the Fourth of July, still celebrate the holiday in astonishing numbers. Fireworks are nearly always a key part of celebration activities, but few understand where this tradition began.

The vision for how Americans should celebrate the tradition actually dates back to 1776, when then-future second president John Adams penned a letter to his wife, Abigail noting that a sparkling sky should honor the independent 13 colonies every year from that point onward.

The pandemic ushered in a golden age of sales and revenue for the fireworks industry with total consumption smashing all previous records with 404.5 million pounds sold in 2020 and again topping the charts in 2021 with 428.8 million pounds, despite record-low use of display fireworks in both years. Fireworks remain ingrained in the American festivity spirit, garnering more than $2.2 billion in sales each year.

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Fireworks, while entertaining, are technically a class of low explosives. These pyrotechnic devices are used for aesthetic and entertainment purposes, but an estimated 11,500 Americans were hospitalized with fireworks-related injuries in 2021.

Of these injuries, 50% were to children and young adults under the age of 20, while over two-thirds of the injuries took place between June 16 to July 16. The majority of these incidents were due to use of professional-grade, homemade or other illegal fireworks or explosives, but surprisingly an estimated 1,200 injuries were from less powerful devices including small firecrackers and sparklers.

Additionally, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires each year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and nearly 17,000 other fires.

The National Safety Council advises everyone to enjoy fireworks at public displays conducted by professionals, and not to use any professional grade fireworks at home.

For residents seeking a fun and safe way to enjoy firework festivities, the Roughrider Days Fair Fireworks show will burst with spectacular color and shower the sky on Monday, July 4, 2022, beginning at 10:00 p.m. at Dickinson State University.

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