Flag

Born in the USA

American flag, steam, and locomotive

American flag, steam, and locomotive

On a recent photography trip to Oregon I was working my way down the coast from sight to sight and town to town. As is often the case on these trips I was heading from one pre-planned location to another when serendipity struck. While we were stopped on the side of the road photographing some arcane roadside attraction, an old American built steam locomotive came chugging down the adjacent railroad tracks.

I quickly shifted my attention from what I was looking at to this beautiful old piece of machinery from a bygone era. After squeezing off a few quick shots the train chugged down the tracks, we noticed that the train was pulling into the small town that we had just passed through. We quickly backtracked and found the train sitting at a siding in the middle of Rockaway Beach, Oregon.

As the train sat at the siding steam continued to pour out of her tanks as the crew oiled the machinery and prepared for the return journey down the coast. It gave us the opportunity to move around the locomotive looking for unique ways to capture her strength and beauty.

During that exploration I was struck by this composition. The plaque denotes the fact that the train was built in Schenectady, New York in September 1925. The steam rising is obviously a byproduct of the machine, but it also adds a certain dramatic flair to the image. And the American flag represents the country and the era that created such a powerful yet now obsolete relic of America’s past.

If you are reading this in the United States, I hope that you take a few minutes this holiday weekend to reflect on your liberty, our great nation, and those that came before us that sacrificed much in order for us to be able to enjoy our Fourth of July celebration.

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9/11 Memorial at Milton High School

9/11 Memorial at Milton High School

3000 flags are placed on the front lawn of Milton High School each year as a memorial to the victims of the attacks of September 11, 2001

This is an image from a post I made five years ago, but it’s certainly appropriate today. May we never forget the tragic events of September 11, 2001. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.

Happy Independence Day!

Sea of Flags

A display placed on Boston Common on Memorial Day weekend to celebrate those who have given their lives in service to our country

Despite all of the issues that push to divide us, may we all take today to remember what unites us as a country: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I hope that today is one of celebration for you and your family for the country we are so blessed to live in. I give thanks to God for allowing me to live in the United States where I can freely express my thoughts and beliefs while living with such abundance. Happy Fourth of July to each of you.

Happy Birthday America

Flag and Fall Colors in Zion National Park

The American flag flies amidst gorgeous fall color in Zion National Park

Despite all of our focus on important current issues and regardless of our political affiliation, we all need to step back sometimes and reflect on the blessing it is to be an American. I have traveled a bit internationally and not once – never – have I visited another country and wanted to live there. I am always grateful to touch down back in the United States. That’s not to say that there aren’t things to appreciate in other parts of the world. There are. But this American is extremely grateful to live here.

So, take a few minutes today to reflect on all the blessings you have as Americans. There’s a reason that we have a very small handful of people renounce their citizenship each year (usually over paying less tax) and millions risk their lives or beg to be able to live here. I think that says it all about where we live.

Happy Birthday America. May our liberties linger, our citizens prosper, and we remain one nation under God.