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Scene at MIT: Independence Day spectacular

Fireworks lit up the night sky and MIT's campus on July 4.
Fireworks lit up the night sky and MIT's campus on July 4.
Photo: Manolis Kellis

"After a day of playing on the Boston Common and public garden, our son ran upstairs to show his friend the fireworks platforms as seen from our roofdeck. As we got up to catch them, we noticed the most amazing sunset and were overtaken by the start of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' playing at the Hatch Shell and broadcast throughout the Boston Esplanade, followed by two military jets that passed right above us. The feeling was simply overwhelming. As the colors of the sunset were fading, the 1812 overture was performed by the Boston Pops, and called for canon shots, which are always accompanied by fireworks on July 4th in Boston.

The timing was perfect, as the red glow of the sunset persisted over the MIT skyline. I had the camera handy — a Canon EOS 70D — and was happily clicking away. I like this shot because it captures the depth and richness of the fireworks, the multiple heights and scales, the evening glow of the MIT dome and Walker Memorial, the reflection of the fireworks in the Charles River through the trees of the esplanade, and all the boats lined up to see the fireworks. The mist from the previous round of fireworks is lit up by the new ones coming up, always reminding me of the most moving verse of 'The Star Spangled Banner':

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there."

—Manolis Kellis, professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Institute Member of the Broad Institute

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