Though the beauty of fireworks against the night sky is incomparable, maybe we ought to be satisfied with good friends, good food, and an annual renewal of resolve to do some form of volunteer work to "make the world a better place."
President Obama has made it clear that America is no longer in the business of selling out the legacy of our Founders and the mandates of the Constitution for the sake of a little bit of extra security.
Do not be surprised if Obama thanks Bush for his service to the nation at the start of his inaugural address. But if one looks at history, one finds that this courtesy is more the exception than the rule.
William H. Taft suffered from a condition probably most relevant to modern Americans - hyper-obesity. He weighed in at over 400 lbs. This condition caused hypersomnolence - he'd fall asleep mid-conversation, sometimes with foreign heads of state.