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Opinion

May 25, 2001 came and went, as so many other days do; except normally on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend when most people are wondering where to travel to and how long it will take them to get there, there was never any doubt for my friends and I as to what to do. We knew, with much anticipation and planning, that another Memorial Day weekend fireworks evening would begin.

For the past 15 years, this has been an incredible event in the lives of many, many families in my town of Port Washington-gala buffet dinners were created, candles lit as groups got together annually to enjoy the festivities. The music was always "the best" as we swayed and, yes, sometimes got up and danced to the "oldies" on the beach and then at 9 p.m. the long-awaited Grucci fireworks began at Bar Beach-20 minutes of amazing! We all looked up to the sky, young and old, as the show began, and we in Port Washington knew how lucky we were to be living on this beautiful peninsula.

This year, as I read in a local newspaper of Supervisor Newburger's decision to discontinue this event, I was greatly saddened, especially when my friend, Valerie, who has joined me for the past 15 years, first with our young children and then as "empty nesters," called to say, "Did you read about our fireworks? No more tradition. I though we would someday be bringing our grandchildren," and, of course, so did I.

I understand completely why the event was shut down. The exiting at the end of the night was an incredible and dangerous traffic jam and definitely posed a danger to those who could be in need. One of my sons was the captain of his ambulance EMT squad up in college years back, and I know what every minute means when there is an emergency.

But do we have to shut down one of the most beautiful days in the Town of North Hempstead's annual schedule of events? I say no. I am offering this suggestion, and also am offering to work with Supervisor Newburger for the reinstatement of this year's fireworks.

Why not send out to each resident family in the Town of North Hempstead an application to attend the fireworks. This could be done sometime in April. There would be a fee of perhaps $10 per car to cover processing and entry, and this would be returned in time to send out a sticker to each family to affix to their windshield with license printed on it. It could be in a specific color, so as not to allow for illegal duplications. I am sure the fees could cover this processing and perhaps even the clean-up afterwards (since up till now it has been free); but most importantly, we the residents of the Town of North Hempstead, wouldn't be deprived again of our wonderful Memorial Day weekend fireworks event this year. I believe the event swelled out of proportion because word got around all of Long Island, Queens, and yes, even further west, that this was an event truly not to be missed, only, unfortunately, we, the residents, are now missing it.

Carol Arnold


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