People flocked to Downtown in the thousands Friday night for the annual ritual to celebrate Independence Day.
Throwing Frisbees, playing games or sprawling out on the grass in University Park downtown, they waited for colorful explosions in the darkening sky to mark America's 238th birthday.
"Fireworks," said Tom Denham of Noblesville. "It's just too cool."
Tom and his wife, Wendy Denham, have lived in central Indiana their whole lives. Until Friday, they had never come to Downtown Indianapolis to watch the fireworks.
While the colors and people and excitement of the moment are what attracted the couple to the Downtown fireworks for the first time, the day itself brought added meaning to them.
"You turn on the nightly news and see all the bad stuff in the world," Wendy Denham said. "You realize we have it pretty good here."
There are problems to solve and things that could be better, but on the whole, they said, they feel lucky to be Americans.
Andrew Bonny, who came from Champaign, Ill., to celebrate the holiday in Indianapolis, said he feels the same way.
"Every country struggles, and you have your ups and downs," he said. "I think we're going in a better direction."
Contrast this with how the majority of Americans feel about how President Obama and the U.S. Congress are doing their jobs: in short, not very well.
But that's not the point of the Fourth of July, the expectant fireworks viewers said.
To the Denhams and Bonny, the holiday is for bringing together families and communities. It's about taking a break and thinking about the positive parts of being American.
"For us," Tom Denham said, "life is good."
Call Star reporter Michael Auslen at (317) 444-6077. Follow him on Twitter: @MichaelAuslen.