Idaho Falls Post Register
Printed on: July 05, 2011
By LINDSEY BUSH
Though the 23-year-old celebrated the Fourth of July while growing up in Idaho Falls, this year’s holiday festivities brought more comfort than those in the past.
For the past nine months, Vance has served with the Idaho Army National Guard’s 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team in Baghdad.
While on two weeks’ leave, Vance returned to his hometown to celebrate the nation he’s been fighting for.
“It feels good to be home,” he said. “You’re around a little bit more civilized people. It feels good. You feel safer.”
While home, Vance joined the city’s Independence Day celebrations Monday by attending the parade, a family barbecue and ending the day with the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration at the Idaho Falls greenbelt.
Larry Nelson, a pyrotechnician for Western Display Fireworks, said this year’s fireworks show was one of the largest so far. It featured more than 16,000 shells and an array of new, vibrant colors.
“It’s a fun thing to do, but it’s a whole lot of work,” Nelson said.
Nelson, along with 10 other crewmembers, spent about three days setting up and preparing for Monday’s show. But, he said, the end result is worth all the hard work.
“The first time I was part of this show was last year, and the first (fireworks) that went up were like the grand finale anywhere else, and it just got better from there,” Nelson said.
The crew’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed, as evidenced by the thousands of spectators the show attracts each year.
Clarissa Hansen abandoned Independence Day celebrations in her hometown of Roy, Utah, to visit family and experience Idaho Falls’ “famous” firework show.
“These are the best fireworks,”
Hansen said. “I’ve gone to all the firework shows in Utah and they all suck. This lasts longer and … Idaho Falls’ is synchronized to the music — there’s nothing better.”
Along with a spectacular show, many spectators enjoyed spending time with family, friends and neighbors throughout the community.
DesiRae Monson spent more than 10 hours at the greenbelt Monday playing games with her family and catching up with friends.
“It’s not just a family celebration; the whole community celebrates,” Monson said.
While honoring American freedom and liberty with the area’s most renowned fireworks show, most agreed celebrating the holiday as a community is what made the day the most memorable.
“For me it’s a lot easier to communicate with other people when we’re all together,” Vance said. “It’s good to see people who appreciate what the service people do. It’s good to be home.”