A portion of this post is actually a repost of a blog I wrote back in 2011. It was part of a photo challenge I was doing at the time to try to improve my picture taking skills. The two photos pictured are of some of my favorite photos that I have ever taken. I look at them and I feel a sense of pride, memories, love. 

But this year is also different for so many reasons.

COVID-19. George Floyd. Black Lives Matter. TRUMP. 

I still love my country, but I'm also angry at it. How do you celebrate freedom when many of my fellow Americans don't feel free? 

Because of COVID, our local fair pictured in these photos, did not take place this year. Instead, we had our kids and grandkids over as many other families did. As it began to get dark, we headed to our backyard. As we began to set off a few fireworks, we started seeing other fireworks going off all around us as well. Then my friend sent me a message about how there were fireworks going off all around them as well! 

I sat with my family, one of my grandsons in my lap, just watching them. I felt... a sense of calm, a sense of understanding. Our governor has a saying, "We will get through this. We will get through this together." His news conferences are talking about COVID, but... I think this can be used as a mantra for all that is going on in our nation. 

We will get through this. We MUST do better. We must BE better. We will get through this TOGETHER.

pa·tri·ot·ism:  love for or devotion to one's country

This is the Merriam-Webster definition for patriotism.  I had ideas of photographing objects like flags, colors (red, white, and blue), and fireworks.  All things that generally represent what appears to us as patriotism.

For us, every year we represent our patriotism by attending our county fair. It is love for and devotion to our country... sort of! The Catfish Festival is an annual event that culminates on July 4th with tons of fun stuff = catfish plates that include fries and hush puppies, rides, fireworks, etc.  As I wandered around the midway, smelling the good smells (and resisting that ever present urge to eat like 5 funnel cakes!), watching the kids playing, running, laughing...  I remembered why we celebrate that patriotism.  Why we love our country.  

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