I was walking around San Francisco just as people were starting to set off fireworks in parks or on their roofs. I saw the real fireworks, shot off on the water, from Buena Vista Park. The view was good (obvio) but I was most interested by the sounds. The elevation meant that I could hear low rumblings from the Marina fireworks to the North and sharper explosions from the homier ones to the South. It sounded like San Francisco was being bombarded.
Why do countries traditionally shoot off fireworks? It seems like it's as if to show—look, we can give our citizens the experience of being attacked, but in an entirely safe context. We can afford to blow things up for the entertainment of our people!