Why You’re Hearing Fewer Fireworks This Year

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 5 2013 12:28 PM

Why You’re Hearing Fewer Fireworks This Year

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These fireworks made it into the air, but that was not the case in Simi Valley, Calif.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

No doubt amaetur efforts will be booming in our backyards all weekend long, but annual July 4 fireworks displays have been cut in many areas of the country this year thanks to a familiar culprit.

Time flags reports from military bases around the country that reveal funds choked by the sequester have led bases to cancel fireworks for members of the military and their families. At Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, for example, a show that draws 13,000 people annually was canceled because officials couldn’t justify the $55,000 cost.

Governments in cities like Seattle and Fort Hood, Tx., managed to salvage their shows through private funds, but officials in some jurisdictions declined to accept handouts. Particular ill will broke out at the Marines’ Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where base leaders refused to let a company fund the fireworks for veterans, leading to angry attacks from service members in local media.

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Meanwhile, in Simi Valley, Calif., residents probably wish the city had been stingy this year. Between 8,000 and 10,000 people in the town scrambled in horror after a device exploded during a fireworks display, causing a chain reaction that sent fireworks shooting into the crowd. At least 28 people were injured, some seriously. Video footage captured the scene (possibly NSFW for language):  

Jeffrey Bloomer is a Slate assistant editor focused on video. Follow him on Twitter.