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Independence Day celebrations end with annual fireworks display in Boston

By meerna Jul11,2024
Independence Day celebrations end with annual fireworks display in Boston

Crowds gathered along the Charles River to watch the 4th of July fireworks show on Thursday, July 4.

Kate Lu-Tech

10595 4th of July 1
Fireworks light up the night sky over Boston to celebrate Independence Day on July 4th.

Michelle Xiang-Tech

On the evening of July 4, thousands of spectators gathered along the Charles River Esplanade to watch Boston’s annual Independence Day fireworks display.

As part of the nation’s founding celebration, U.S. flags were held or displayed throughout the day throughout the city, and patriotic sentiment rose as families eager to get a proper perspective of the fireworks gathered at the section of the Charles River by the Harvard Bridge, where the barge carrying the fireworks was parked.

Throughout the afternoon, various city and state police units, as well as uniformed military personnel, were stationed in the Harvard Bridge area to prepare for the closely monitored event. Harvard Bridge and surrounding streets were closed to vehicle traffic ahead of the event. By noon, the esplanade was packed with participants, some dressed in red, white and blue. One of the main spots for residents was Killian Court, where dozens of families gathered on picnic blankets.

The show began a few minutes after 10:30 p.m., with fireworks launched from a barge in the Charles River. The show lasted about half an hour and featured a dazzling array of lights and explosions, including images of what looked like a group of parachutists, a lineup of smiley faces and explosions of red, white and blue.

With its location right next to the fireworks display, many members of the MIT community who stayed on campus for the holidays were able to enjoy the evening’s festivities and relish the opportunity to celebrate their country and its importance.

“For me, the Fourth of July is a time to reflect on what it means to be an American,” said Howard Beck ’25. “Part of that is being grateful for the privileges we have. For example, living here provides us with tremendous resources, security, and opportunities—even going to MIT.”

This year was Beck’s third time watching the Boston fireworks, having also seen them the summers after his freshman and sophomore years. Beck described the noisy and exciting scene along Memorial Drive where he watched the show and the joy of the diverse community of the institution and the city coming together. “Groups were dancing and singing until the fireworks started,” Beck said, also mentioning MIT Spinning Arts, which brought LED poi and walking sticks for the performance.

A letter from the associate dean of fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups that Liz Jason sent to all off-campus groups before July 4 described restrictions on hosting social events for Independence Day. Jason noted in the email that “no events have been submitted for approval for July 4”—since all summer social events are considered special events under the Institute’s policy and therefore require prior approval from the associate dean—“which means there can be no social events that week.”

The email also noted that any FSILG found to be organising an unregistered social event will be referred to the Committee on Disciplinary Action (COD) and that, in principle, FSILGs with approved rooftop terraces “are not permitted to organise social events on them.”

Some off-campus groups, however, held meetings in their apartments and on their rooftops (as did many city-owned tenants with rooftop terraces) or otherwise celebrated the festivities with barbecues.

Despite a statewide ban on private fireworks use, some city rooftops were also seen setting off their own fireworks during the event.

Other MIT members gathered on the upper floors of the Institute’s buildings to watch the spectacle, and some groups and departments organized parties for their members.

It was Maia DeMeyer ’26’s first time watching a fireworks show in Boston; DeMeyer described a level of gratitude for the largely responsible use of fireworks throughout the city. “It’s crazy in my hometown — at least a dozen injuries, and the streets are full of smoke,” DeMeyer said. “I’m so grateful that the law in Massachusetts enforces responsible use of fireworks so we can enjoy their beauty safely and with minimal disruption.”

The fireworks display ended at 11:00 p.m., and thunderous applause rang out throughout the city.
“For me, (it’s) a time to reflect on the struggles of Americans today, and also to remember the darkest parts of our imperfect history. It’s a day to reflect not only on the good of America, but also to recognize that we must always strive for a better country and society, and to learn and never repeat our worst mistakes,” Beck said.

By meerna

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