This week we celebrate Independence Day in the United States, a time when the red, white and blue are out in full force. A time when many of us hit the road for an extended road trip…because we can. A time when we need to remember what “independence” means. It’s also time for my annual July 4th photo essay, capturing the red, white and blue in photographs my fellow travel writers and photographers have taken during their travels.
Having traveled to many different countries, I’m thankful for the rights the red, white and blue represent here in the U.S. Little things like being able to wear shorts (as a female). Bigger ones, such as my daughters being allowed to go to school. The right to vote. And then there’s the right to see a movie, which brings me to Deming, New Mexico and that term “independence”.
Do you remember last December when Sony canceled the release of the movie “The Interview”, staring James Franco and Seth Rogen? It was about two television journalists involved in a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. You know the movie that prompted an international incident with North Korea. Did you see it? Not many people did at first; only 200 theaters were willing to play it on Christmas Day 2014. One of those theaters was in Luna County’s town of Deming, New Mexico – population 14,855. It was one of the few in the nation, and the first in New Mexico, to buck the trend of cancelling the premiere – to celebrate free speech with showing the film at the Starmax in Deming.
Luna County didn’t just allow “The Interview” to play but rather they contacted Sony – repeatedly – and asked to have the film appear at the Luna County Starplex Theater. The movie sold out the first day, with more 500 people coming to see it. Tickets were sold to people coming from as far away as California and Texas.
“It was important to Luna county to show that film to honor our veterans,” said Charles “Tink” Jackson, Luna County Manager. “We have multitudes of veterans who live in our county and the right to view that film was warned by the blood of our veterans. It was about locally deciding what we would watch and not allowing terrorists to tell us what we can view. It was all about our right to choose. It is about Americans being Americans. It was about allowing our citizens the right to exercise their freedoms and decide on their own if they wanted to view the film or not.”
Now “The Interview” is just a movie, and to be honest, not that great of a movie. But having the “right” to choose to see it is one of the many “rights” our RED, WHITE, and BLUE represent. And a little town an hour from the Mexican boarder is a perfect example of the “independence” we as U.S. citizens are blessed to have. Thank you to all those who have and are working everyday to defend those rights.
I’ve asked several of my fellow writers and photographers to share their photos of the American flag and National Monuments for my annual July 4th photo essay. It seems only fitting to start with the Luna County Courthouse.
Luna County Courthouse, Deming, New Mexico. The building was completed and occupied in 1911, before the territory of New Mexico became the state of New Mexico in 1916. Photo by Jared Schoch
Do you have any great shots of the red, white and blue? Include a link to your photos in the comments or tag them #CarpeTravelUSA. Happy Fourth of July!