Celebrating Independence Day in America. God bless our freedoms.

Celebrate the birth and the continuance of American independence.

Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.
Thurgood Marshall

The tablet of law, held in the Statue of Liberty's left hand, has the date of American Independence July 4, 1776, written on it in Roman numerals (July IV, MDCCLXXVI). It is meant to inspire an appreciation of our commitment to liberty and freedom for all.

Ezra Lazerus, an American poet, wrote the sonnet, "The New Colossus", which includes the lines "Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free". This poem is "uniquely identified with the Statue of Liberty in American culture and is inscribed on a plaque in its museum."

Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.
John F. Kennedy

One of those immigrants was Albert Bierstadt, (1830-1902) a German-American painter.

Born in Prussia, his family immigrated to New Bedford, MA when he was one year old. He painted stunning images of the majestic and awesome natural wonders in the US, as well as other places in the world. His work is breathtaking. 

Yes, we have many disagreements as we struggle to bring our actual democracy up to the goals we have touted. Our freedoms are so simple to put into words, yet create such turmoil when we try to put them into action.

Their are many customs and cultures, (music, food, sports, artwork, costumes, regalia, dances, etc.) that are uniquely American. Or they started as American and have spread throughout the world.

One event that celebrates our cultural heritage of the West and its cowboys, is a rodeo. If you have never seen a rodeo, I highly recommend it. Such fun! Such excitementI They bring the action right to us to appreciate the skill, strength and experience it takes to wrangle cattle and livestock in a wild land.

It's a big business now, and you can see rodeos on TV, or YouTube, or via all the streaming outlets. But, no, I recommend visiting a state fair or county fair to take in the sights and sounds in person.

All kinds of regional activities evolve to celebrate community and the fourth of July. In this above scene, boats parade on a lake and the people on the shore pelt the boaters with water balloons and shoot them with sprays of water. All in good fun. And, all ages participate-- usually appreciating the soaking in the searing heat.

For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
Nelson Mandela

On this fourth of July, relish your traditions and perhaps partake of a neighbor's tradition, too.

May you have a safe, gratitude-filled Independence Day!

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