Would Press Democrat editor Ernest L. Finley have believed that his newspaper would still be fighting against Fourth of July fireworks more than a century later?
While the returns are not yet all in, the figures so far received indicate that the casualties resulting from this year’s celebration of the Glorious Fourth will equal and perhaps exceed those of last year, when 476 persons were killed and 3,973 seriously injured through the foolish custom of making fireworks the principal feature of the country’s annual birthday party. In addition to the casualty list, which each year exceeds that of most battles, several million dollars’ worth of property is always destroyed by fire, and an enormous sum spent uselessly on a form of amusement that is utterly without rhyme or reason. The things are matter of common knowledge, and slowly but surely the country is coming to a realization of the fact that some better manner of celebrating Independence Day should be evolved. Will it be possible to bring about such a change? If so, who will come forward with a suggestion that will meet all the requirements of the case?– Press Democrat editorial, July 6, 1905