Nights to remember

07/08/2010 12:00 AM |

This is a great big thank-you, offered on behalf of thousands of happy fireworks watchers, to Pete Harris, his father, Stan, and son Cliff for having handled every detail of Greenport’s twin July 4 holiday pyrotechnic displays for so many years — from planning and purchasing to logistics and cleanup.

Last weekend’s show was their last. They need a break and so they’ve announced their retirement from this voluntary service. Beginning next year, a commercial fireworks outfit will handle the show.

While so many people get to play as summer arrives, the Harrises have not. For a long, long time, they’ve had to light a fire and pour on the coals just when the weather turns hot, getting everything ready for the big event.

Pete’s been at it for 37 years. He called in his dad for help right off the bat. His son Cliff joined the team as soon as he was old enough to help with the heavy lifting, but he wasn’t allowed to help shoot off any chrysanthemum, strobe, fountain or palm rockets for a while.

Sure, the Harrises had some fun, but few of us have a clue how much work they had to put into something we’ve all taken for granted.

The kind of selfless dedication the Harris trio has shown should be as much a part of what we celebrate on July 4 as our independence. Without people like them, communities — and countries — don’t work.

Thanks, Harrises! Enjoy your summers off.