Friday, July 04, 2008

Independence Day

This is a home in the transitional neighborhood where we lived in Houston. It was called the Old Sixth Ward. Over a period of about three years I took pictures of the houses. I never thought about it until I started looking at my work prints and then I realized how many of the houses had flags. Much more so than the suburban neighborhood where we lived for about 30 years. The neighborhood was interesting because of the mix of people who lived there....architects, small business owners, craftsman, accountants, Hispanics, Asians, Blacks, Whites, young, old. There was a lot of political activity by the residents at the local, State and National level. The flags were flown proudly.....and in some cases represented sons and daughters serving in the Armed Forces.

Today is the Fourth of July, Independence Day. I've been thinking a lot about my country. Right now I'm not very happy with some of its recent history and I'm concerned about how we are going to pull out of the economic situation in which we find ourselves. Nevertheless, it is my country and I still love it and for the things for which it stands (or for which it has stood.) I still get a thrill when we are driving along the south side of the Rio Grande and I can see the American flag waving across the river.

I was wishing that I had an American flag to fly today but this little voice inside said, "That would not be a good idea." Oh, I don't think anyone would do anything to us but I believe that the neighbors would not like it. Mexican-American history has been dominated with Mexico losing territory to the United States. Sometimes paid for and sometimes not. The resentment of this and the nationalism of Mexico came to a head in the 1930's with Mexico's expropriation of the land and oil fields being developed and run by Standard Oil. This was widely supported by the Mexican people and the feeling is still there today in that they do not want foreign help or investment in their oil.

We are going to remember and celebrate the Fourth of July with some friends and do the usual American thing......Hot dogs with all the fixin's and side dishes and a little ice cream. I've got blue table cloths, red napkins and white plates.....the colors from Old Glory. I'll say a little prayer that the rain lets up so Ned doesn't have to stand under an umbrella to cook the wieners and I'll say a big prayer for my country. Happy 232 birthday, United States of America and many more Happy Birthdays.


Jonna said...

Happy 4th Billie. Very well said.

I have a small US flag and I thought about putting it on the jeep like we put the Mexican flag on Independence day in the fall. Then, I decided against it too. I agree that it would not go over well and I wouldn't be doing it to make people mad so ... I won't.

We're going to a beach barbeque with ribs and potato salad and lots of beer and fireworks. Maybe I'll wear my tiny flag pin.

Steve Cotton said...

Nice essay. And I really like the photograph. As for flag-flying, I usually put out the Union Jack for the day -- just for the conversation.