We have celebrated America’s Independence Day in many places, including the National Mall in Washington during our 23 years living and working in the nation’s capital.
We’ve witnessed, photographed and filmed fireworks shows in Manhattan, Washington, St. Louis, Los Angeles, the Mountains of New Mexico, at home here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and other places both in America and abroad.
Admittedly, celebrating this year is difficult because of America’s partisan political divide along with the hate and anger that consumes America but I can turn to the images of previous 4th of July to recognize, remember and honor the nation what we love and continue to fight to preserve.
America is far more than tanks on the National Mall or expensive taxpayer-funded military flyovers in Washington. It is far more than the political demagoguery that we must endure in a national government gone mad.
This is our home, our country and our people — all of them. American is a nation founded by immigrants seeking a better home in this land and we must remember that the welcome mat should never be withdrawn by those who fear others who look or act different.
Our nation exists on a vow of equality in beliefs. All who seek what we have must be welcome.
Happy Birthday America. We’ve come a long way but we still have much more to do to protect what it means to actually live free among everyone.