A S C R A P B O O K O F S O L U T I O N S F O R T H E P H O T O G R A P H E R
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10 October 2016
There are, as we point out each year on this occasion, two ways to look at this holiday. Well, three. If you're working, you're probably looking at it with envy. A person can't get enough holidays.
But the two ways to look at this peculiar holiday are 1) traditionally as the celebration of the discovery of America by someone who thought differently about the shape of the world and 2) the beginning of a never-ending invasion by peoples of all kinds who weren't born here and brought as gifts disease, pestilence and religion.
Neither strikes us as particularly informed. Sort of makes us want to skip right to Halloween and celebrate diabetes.
But we're determined to celebrate our national holidays. That's why, years ago, we bought a barbecue.
We just need a little inspiration. And suspecting you may too, we took this shot Friday of a couple enjoying the Blue Angels from the comfort of their inflatable boat.
They inspire us because, well, they set sail.
People set sail for all sorts of reasons. Today we honor them all.
It's the act of leaving, of packing the covered wagon or station wagon and hitting the trail or freeway and heading out to greener pastures or the new subdivision. Sure, you regret leaving behind family and friends. Friends, anyway. But you know when the sun is setting on you and you never got used to that.
On the other hand, this is a world in which native and immigrant mix more than ever. Europe strains under the obligation to accept refugees from the Middle East, Africa and Asia (after, it should be remembered, a century of colonization). The U.S. bickers about how to treat legal and illegal immigrants (while, it should be pointed out, it employs them under the table for all sorts of menial jobs).
It's not an easy art to welcome strangers and maintain national identity.
Unless your national identity is to welcome strangers, to include people not like yourself. Ring a bell? That old cracked Liberty Bell, maybe?
Standing among the crowd Friday enjoying the Blue Angel dress rehearsal, we couldn't help but be awed by the power of those jets, how they soared straight up into the sky until they were invisible, how they shot over the bay toward each other, passing by as close as the car parked next to yours at the mall shopping lot.
Then we thought of the jets over Aleppo. How does it feel when that power is not on your side? When it unrelentingly drives you from your home? When it turns your city into rubble? When it prevents you from eating or two days? When, in the lull, you scramble to find water to drink?
People set sail for all sorts of reasons. Today we honor them all. And bid them safe passage.