During the fireworks finale on the Fourth of July, when the slow parade of booms accelerates to a brief orgasm of explosions, people swell in pride for their country and clap and yell and madly wave flags. Observing this sudden groundburst of nationalism, I wonder what intrinsic link is there between fireworks and flag waving? I miss a step somewhere in the syllogism: explosions are exciting, therefore America is great. Gunpowder and oxidized metal rouse our adrenaline, but Uncle Sam takes credit. The fireworks sow, patriotism reaps. If it were New Year's Eve, our resolutions rather than our patriotism would inherit the force of our festivity. If we were Hitler Youth at our first parade, our awe would prove the glory of the Führer.