Independence Day

I really have no idea what this American flag is doing in this old, abandoned house.

The birth of a nation.

That’s what we are celebrating in The United States on this day. It’s a time for flag waving, BBQing, eating hot dogs and hamburgers, lighting fireworks and forgetting what the day is really about.

The day is really about my country declaring our independence from the British. Having done that, we fought a war to break free. Actually, we fought two wars, with The Battle of New Orleans ending the War of 1812.

Ironically, we are mostly friends with the British, but we are not friends with ourselves. The United States is as divided as I’ve ever seen. Left, right, far left and far right cannot stand each other. There is no room for cooperation or compromise.

We are in the midst of three issues that could kill us.

The pandemic, which a lot of republican including the president are trying to sweep under the rug until one of their states is heavily infected. They forgot that the virus was created by nature. Nature doesn’t care if you are conservative of liberal. She just seeks stasis.

Think about that for a minute, while I ramble on.

Along came the intentional killing of a black man by a policeman. We watched in horror as the cop kneeled on the man’s neck for 8:46. This sparked protests and some riots across the US. Our friends in other countries joined in.

We all agree that protesting is right. Rioting is not. That didn’t stop the president from ordering police and national guard to violently clear out peaceful protesters so he could look tough, walk past them, and hold a bible upside down while posing for pictures in front of a church. If this continues, he’ll start a race and class war.

With the pandemic arriving hard and fast, the economy tanked. It crashed below the last recession and even the Great Depression of 1929. It took the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1941 to fully recover.

What does our “great” stable genius do? The one who thinks drinking bleach will cure you? The one who said there were maybe 15 cases in the country and the virus would just die out? The one who refuses to wear a mask?

He holds a Independence Day event at Mount Rushmore with a speech, a flyover, and fireworks. He was begged not to do it. He didn’t listen. He just goes with his gut, which is ample enough. Nobody was wearing masks to a superspreader event. I’m not a hateful man, but one can only hope.


My country is in tatters. With Europe not letting us in to travel, we have sunk to the level of a third world country. I cannot tell you how angry and sad I am.

That’s what this picture is about.

I photographed this when I first returned to New Orleans after the storm. The building was gutted and torn up. There were whole in the floor. Holes in the walls. There were holes in the roof. The owner still proudly displayed the American Flag. I drove by this house a few months ago. Like a phoenix rising, it was fully and completely restored. It’s a home again.

That gives me hope.

Stay safe. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Enjoy the entire one pound bag of potato chips.

Published by Ray Laskowitz

I am a visual storyteller. I've been making pictures for some 40 years. I travel the world in search of the right image. in the right light at the right time. You can reach me by phone at 505.280.4686, or by email at or For a quick look at my work please go to

9 thoughts on “Independence Day

  1. As soon as you made the opening statement, my mind immediately went in the direction that you took us. Very well done, Ray … very well done. And yes – I can enjoy an entire big bag of chips! Hope you had a good 4th.


    1. I’m glad that worked. There have been some who either don’t get it. Or, completely disagree. Thank you. We enjoyed our 4th even though it is not a very happy time in the country. But, I believe — as I think you do — that it can be again. In fact it can be better than it was. Chips… me too.


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