Downtown Rockford’s 4th of July Celebration Turns Ugly
"Welcome to the Jungle", or Downtown Rockford.
Fireworks, friends, family, BBQ, and multiple arrests downtown. Does that sound right to you Rockford? On the 241st birthday of our beloved country, a bunch of disrespectful kids downtown ruined the celebration by showing how well they were raised.
This post comes from Aaron Rice. Aaron has been working in media for 20+ years and as you can imagine, has seen it all. Working in media the T.V. field especially, you see it all. The good, the bad, and the kids that were never showed any love growing up.
This is Aaron's heartfelt post about what he witnessed downtown last night working for a local TV station, thank you for letting me share Aaron.
I'm so disappointed with what happened tonight during what should have been a fun and family-friendly evening for people in the Rockford area. This was my 9th year working downtown to provide television coverage of Rockford's amazing fireworks show. It's been 22 years since I first started working professionally in the broadcasting field, 20 years since I first began working as part of a television news organization, and the first time I have felt that my crew and co-workers were in a dangerous environment. Sure, a lot of live shots have the "goofballs" in the background who jump, make goofy faces or embarrass their parents in some way...but tonight, my team was spit at from the parking deck above them and also had water bottles dropped near them from the same parking deck during our live broadcast tonight.
It'd not warrant a post from me if it was just that. During Rockford's fireworks show, people were lighting fireworks in the street, roughly 100 or so feet from where we were broadcasting from. While our set was dark and mostly empty during the fireworks. someone set off a very large firework or cherry bomb right next to our stage, and also inside the parking garage we were set up in. There were several fights during the fireworks, and again, about 100 feet or so from where we were set up, people were throwing fireworks at the police officers who were trying to keep everyone safe. Co-workers were sending their kids into the live trucks to get them out of the chaos and into an area that they hoped would be safe. It's rough directing a show when you see nothing but police lights and large groups of people running around outside you, and it's sad for me to think that kids who just wanted to enjoy the fireworks couldn't do that because people (most of them probably teenagers) thought that this was funny or would impress someone.
We had to scrap a planned live shot during a newscast (which has happened plenty of times in the past due to equipment issues or weather) because it simply wasn't safe for our crew to be there. I don't know what's wrong the people who do these kinds of things, but I sure hope they grow up quickly.
That said, I'm really proud of the team of people I work with. Thank you for putting up with this crap so that others who can't make it out (or choose not to go) can enjoy this in the comfort of their own homes. The two video clips were shot by Steve Frank, one of our engineers, who was at the top of the parking garage we were using.