Remembering a Favorite Fourth of July.

Charleston Battery

Charleston, South Carolina


Kay Swilley, Sharon and Skip Laney eagerly awaiting the paddle wheeler we boarded.

The Fourth of July, 2009. My wonderful and lovely sister-in-law Sharon and her equally wonderful and handsome husband Skip invited Katie Mae and me to visit them at their home in Summerville, South Carolina. Summerville is a bedroom community for folks who work in Charleston so it only took twenty minutes or so for us to get from their house to the picturesque harbor at Charleston and that’s where we went. We headed straight for one of the greatest Fourth of July fireworks celebrations I have ever witnessed.kay's camera 011

Ben and Kay enjoying a couple of adult beverages before the meal.

         In no time we were hustled aboard a mid-sized paddle wheeler that had us churning out across the bay to Fort Sumter. As we circled Fort Sumter we were served a delicious seafood dinner while a trio of accomplished musicians played old favorites from the forties and fifties.

Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter


Trio on board our paddle wheeler.







Carolina Queen

The Carolina Queen – Just like a Mississippi river boat.

USS Yorktown

The USS Yorktown – WWII era aircraft carrier.

I asked a member of the trio if I could sing with the group. He said, “I wish you wouldn’t.” Then a guy with big arms asked me if I thought I could find my way back to the dock if he gave me a dinghy and an old paddle. They threatened to set me loose in a little boat and how I got back to the dock would be my problem. I went back to my table.


The brilliant sunset on the horizon seemed to be a subtle prelude to the greatest fireworks show I have ever seen in person.

As the sky darkened we went out on the open deck to better watch the fireworks. It all started from the flight deck of the USS Yorktown. The Yorktown is a WWII era aircraft carrier that is permanently docked in the Charleston Harbor. The carrier now belongs to Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum.

The night enveloped us and as the show got started I think I had the best seat in the world for watching aerial bombs and fire exploding overhead. It gave greater significance to our proximity to Fort Sumter where the first shot of the War between the States was fired.

Bridge 2It seemed like it went on forever. They must have spent a huge fortune on fireworks. Just when I thought the show was ending, at least a dozen or more communities and island populations surrounding Charleston began to ramp up their own Fourth of July celebrations.

It was fascinating to sit quietly docked out in the Charleston Harbor and watch the horizon set afire once again by the luckiest people in the world. Thousands upon thousands of people showing their love and appreciation for this country. A country with no equal for greatness throughout history. This country so exceptional that no better civilization has ever existed………ever.


Sharon and Skip Laney

Fireworks 3Fireworks 2









Thanks to Skip and Sharon for allowing us to join them for such a spectacular show.

And for those of you who deny American exceptionalism and have been complaining about the USA for years, please find the place on this planet where you think life is better. Let us know where it is. The rest of us want to help you pack.