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The Fourth of July Photo Essay: Celebrating Independence Day

The immigration officer stood up from his desk, waved us forward yelling, “NEXT!” The Husband handed him our two blue passports, a stack of papers and Princess Two’s red, Russian passport. The two blue passports were opened, checked and set aside. He turned to the red passport, it was opened and held with one hand while the other slowly turned and methodically stamped the bottom of each page with a loud thud.

Princess Two reached for a little American flag on his desk, I shifted her to the other hip. This was not the time to annoy this immigration officer. He was the last step in our journey back into the United States. Twenty hours of traveling with a curious and busy two-year-old who did not sleep had worn us down…but the nerves and adrenaline had kicked into high gear. We had her papers. We had everything, we just needed more stamps… The people in line behind us were growing more annoyed with each passing minute. They had connecting flights to make, places to be, friends to meet…but we had to get more stamps.

The immigration officer stamped the last piece of paper, raised his head and smiled. “Now, it’s time for the ‘special’ stamp.” He opened his desk drawer, pulled out that special stamp, picked up the red passport and turned to the correct page. As he stamped Princess Two’s Russian passport, he raised his head, took her little hand, shook it and said, “You are officially a citizen of the United States of America, little one. Welcome home.” The people in line behind us, realized what they had just waited for.

They clapped.

Whistled.

And yelled “congratulations”.

Freedom. Independence. Unalienable rights. Traveling has taught me what text books couldn’t teach me about freedom and independence. About the beautiful rights we are born into as citizens of the United States. Rights I’m thankful to have as a person, especially a woman; rights so many women in the world will never know. I drive by the American flag as she waves to me every day on my way to wherever I’m going. I don’t recite her pledge anymore, although still etched in my brain. But now, I appreciate what she represents. I know what it means. And I’m grateful.

This week the United States will be celebrating the July 4th holiday – our Independence Day. There are few things, if any, that represent our independence and freedom more than the United States flag. My

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The little American flag on his desk was just a little flag. But there are few things, if any, that represent the United States and the freedoms its citizens have more than it does. Traveling has taught me more about these rights and how valuable they are…the day my daughter became a citizen reminded me just how valuable “home” was and that little flag took on more meaning.

This week the United States will celebrate the July 4th holiday – our Independence day – I’m excited to share our annual photo essay capturing the American flag, and other historical landmarks in the United States that have been captured by many of my fellow travel writers.

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American Flag Photo Essay: Celebrating Independence Day

Thank you to this years contributors – Jenna Kvidt at Wander the Map, Megan Claire at Mapping Megan, Noel Morata at A Big Island Life, Lauren and Kenin Bassart at Constant Rambler, Mary Chong at Calculated Traveller and Jennifer Close at Two Kids and a Map.

The American Flag: Photo Essay Celebrating Independence Day

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The American Flag: Photo Essay Celebrating Independence Day

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Space-Shuttle-Discovery by Mary Chong at Calculated Traveller
Space-Shuttle-Discovery by Mary Chong at Calculated Traveller
The White House in Washington DC by Megan Claire at MappingMegan.com
The White House in Washington DC by Megan Claire at MappingMegan.com
United States Capitol Building by Megan Claire at MappingMegan.com
United States Capitol Building by Megan Claire at MappingMegan.com
Lincoln Memorial United States by Megan Claire at MappingMegan.com
Lincoln Memorial United States by Megan Claire at MappingMegan.com

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America,

and to the Republic for which it stands,

one Nation under God,

indivisible,

with liberty

and justice for all.”

Overlooking the Boston Skyline on a Whale Watching Tour by Jenna at Wander the Map
Overlooking the Boston Skyline on a Whale Watching Tour by Jenna Kvidt at WanderTheMap.com
Paul Revere's Orignal and New Gravestones in Boston by Jenna Kvidt at WanderTheMap.com
Paul Revere’s Orignal and New Gravestones in Boston by Jenna Kvidt at WanderTheMap.com
San Francisco Skyline from Alcatraz Island by Jenna Kvidt at WanderTheMap.com
San Francisco Skyline from Alcatraz Island by Jenna Kvidt at WanderTheMap.com
Taking a Tour Inside the US Capitol Building San Francisco Skyline from Alcatraz Island by Jenna Kvidt at WanderTheMap.com
Taking a Tour Inside the US Capitol Building by Jenna Kvidt at WanderTheMap.com
Mount Vernon, home of the first president of the United States, George Washington by Noel Morata at A Big Island Life
Mount Vernon, home of the first president of the United States, George Washington by Noel Morata at A Big Island Life
Pearl Harbor by Jennifer Close at TwoKidsAndAMap.com
Pearl Harbor by Jennifer Close at TwoKidsAndAMap.com
Bald Eagle by Lauren and Kenin Bassart at Constant Rambler
Bald Eagle by Lauren and Kenin Bassart at Constant Rambler

If you have any photos you’d like to share of the American flag from your travels I’d love to see them on Carpe Travels Facebook page.  In the meantime, please take a look at this years photo essay and take a minute this holiday to remember just what the flag represents to you…

Thanks again to this years contributors, make sure to click over to see more of their photos – Jenna Kvidt at Wander the Map, Megan Claire at Mapping Megan, Noel Morata at A Big Island Life, Lauren and Kenin Bassart at Constant Rambler, Mary Chong at Calculated Traveller and Jennifer Close at Two Kids and a Map.

Elaine Schoch

Elaine N. Schoch

Elaine Schoch (pronounced the German way – Shock) is the editor and founder of Carpe Travel as well as an award-winning travel writer, wine judge, certified by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 and certified American Wine Expert. She is married to The Husband and has two kids, Princess One and Two – who’s interest and knowledge in wine is quite extensive. Not to mention the stamps in their passports.

Cher

Tuesday 8th of July 2014

Great photos!

Elaine Schoch

Tuesday 8th of July 2014

Thanks! Hope you had a great holiday.

LindySez

Monday 7th of July 2014

Very nicely done Elaine...

Elaine Schoch

Tuesday 8th of July 2014

Thanks! Hope you had a great holiday.

Dan Brusca

Friday 4th of July 2014

Beautiful shots. Happy 4th of July!

Elaine Schoch

Friday 4th of July 2014

Thanks! Hope you have a great holiday.

Wesley Travels

Wednesday 2nd of July 2014

Beautiful photos! I love the one one top of the spaceshuttle, that looks amazing.

Jenna

Monday 30th of June 2014

Turned out great again this year! Awesome photos, and I love the story about bringing your little one home!