Traditions run strong as New Hampshire celebrates America's 237th birthday
By BILL SMITH
New Hampshire Union Leader | July 04. 2013 2:37AM
Fireworks explode over the Bridge Street bridge and Arms Park in Manchester Wednesday.Mark Bolton/Union Leader
Fireworks lit the sky over Manchester, drawing a crowd of thousands to Arms Park and surrounding neighborhoods.
"It's big time, it's appreciation for what we've got," said Mark Orshak of Manchester, clad in a colonial-styled shirt depicting the American flag. "I think it's celebrated more and more since 9/11 and what happened in Boston kind of spurs it now."
Ashley and Oscar Castro brought their three children, Cameron, 9, Caden, 6 and Colby, 1, each clad in patriotic-colored rugby-style shirts.
Tradition was also behind the shirt celebrating the American flag worn by Amelia Szelog, 18, of Manchester.
Spectators who wanted to be close to the fireworks began filling Arms Park well before dusk, and were entertained by the 39th Army Band of the New Hampshire National Guard, itself steeped in more than 130 years of tradition, which performed traditional favorites as well as contemporary and not-so-contemporary songs.
Another 30 communities planned fireworks on Thursday, although the fireworks in Lebanon have been postponed until a future date.
Officials promised a "very special fireworks show" to celebrate the town's recovery from the flooding.
For the crowds gathered Wednesday night, being anywhere else simply wouldn't do; many have spent the Fourth at the fireworks for decades, at Derryfield Park for years before the show was moved to Arms Park in 1985.