I think the reason I love the 4th of July (besides the fact that I loved hot dogs that are so cooked and burnt that they're shriveled and black.. and I love the smell of barbeque) is because when I was younger, we would throw one hell of a July 4th Party. My best friend lived caddy-corner behind me, and our other friend lived caddy-corner on the other side. The neighbors behind us were the good crazy neighbors, not the bad crazy neighbors who were so crazy that all their dogs tried to commit suicide, and we were close with both of our next door neighbors. So the collective of the six families would host the neighborhood block party.
Except we'd only invite the neighbors that we liked. We had some unsavory neighbors. There was the drunk woman who totalled my neighbors parked car, the crazy woman whose daughter was a juvenile delinquent, all her other juvenile delinquent friends (and I did hang out with those people for a while...), and the woman whom I was convinced was a witch.
One particular year, I think I was about 9 or 10. My best friend's parents were still married (whether they were speaking was another story) and her dad decided that he was taking over the fireworks show, except that he was so drunk he couldn't stand up... so he was lighting the fireworks between his legs. He's really lucky he didn't blow off any of his bits. Later in the evening, around midnight or so? After I went upstairs to bed, but I definitely wasn't asleep, and I definitely watched this whole thing unfold out of my parent's bedroom window... my dad, the ringleader of the drunken idiocy in this particular case, came up with the BRILLIANT idea to have a race. He and his knucklehead followers all got out their lawn tractors and plotted out the course across the backyards. But our one neighbor didn't have a tractor... he only had a gas push mower. So about 5 wasted dudes on lawnmowers are racing across the backyards of a suburban relatively quiet neighborhood with one dude sprinting behind them. It was priceless. Then the cops came.
Luckily no one was arrested, but it's antics like that that make me love July 4th. However, this was also the year that I accidentally ate a sparkler. I had a granola bar in one hand, and an unlit sparkler in the other. I bit down on the wrong thing.