Fireworks tent

OTTUMWA — Zach Miller has been selling fireworks inside a big and white tent outside the Ottumwa 8 Theatre for a few years.

Despite the heat, Miller enjoys selling fireworks. “One aspect of selling I love is seeing the look on kids' faces when they pick out what they want,” Miller said. “Adults also get the chance to be a kid again.”

Miller also loves fireworks because of the opportunity in seeing them take off. “What is more American than blowing up something?” he said with a laugh.

Miller often barbecues with his family. He recounted favorite family traditions like spending time with family from Tennessee and swimming. “My favorite Fourth of July memory was spending time with my cousin in Tennessee and going to concerts.”

Christopher Headly works alongside Miller. He loves putting on a fireworks display. He not only enjoys fireworks, but also adores thinking about the freedom America has built. “Most of the other countries don’t have the freedom that we have,” he said. “To have the freedom that we have here is a blessing.”

Although July 4 can embody fun and fireworks for many Americans, Miller encouraged residents to not forget about the purpose of July 4, which is to celebrate the freedom we were given by our founding fathers. “They were the ones who established freedom in the first place,” Miller said. “We have the freedom to choose to be who we are and the freedom to worship how we want.”

Peggy Bailey was under her tent as well, serving customers in search of a show. She sells fireworks in the Quincy Place Mall lot.

Bailey wanted to sell fireworks because she wanted something to offer residents. “All different people from different walks of life come to buy fireworks,” Bailey said. “When people come to buy fireworks, they usually buy the rockets and anything that is the loudest.”

Like Headly and Miller, she thinks freedom should never be taken for granted. “The true meaning of the Fourth is to be grateful for all that we’ve been given as a nation.”

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