In the city where I live there has been an annual fireworks display on the 4th of July; ever since my youth I can remember my family and I gathering together that night to watch the show. My cousins lived up on the highest part of the city and we would all sit outside of their house and watch from there; with each colorful explosion some comment or expression would be made, as though the evening's event were being judged by us alone. I may not have that many memories as a small boy, but that annual event was one of them and is very special to me.
Now youth has passed and most of my family is scattered. The old house where we all would gather to watch the fireworks now sits empty; no longer does anyone sit outside and watch from there. But, the annual city's fireworks display still continues and is enjoyed by the young and old each year, just as it did when I was a child. Only one of my sisters still lives in town and occasionally the two of us will still get together and share this old tradition and relive the memories. What once was just a small gathering with our family is now shared with thousands of local residents. Each year people from all around the city jockey for a position at their favorite spots to celebrate this tradition and to make family memories of their own. Now that I live in a different part of the city I watch the show from the park just down the street from my house.
I wasn't certain whether or not I would be able to attend the fireworks display this year; either way I knew that I would not be watching it with anyone from my family or anyone special. But, this fact did not stop me from taking my camera and joining the hundreds of others that filled the park. As the fireworks were going off I continually took time-lapse pictures of the show and the people that filled the park. I didn't want just another fireworks photo; I wanted "people" in the picture. After reviewing my photos from that evening I felt that I had one image that truly captured the mood and "feel" of this annual event. Due to the fireworks, the lights in the distance, and the shirts of the girls in the foreground, I gave this photo the title of "Stars and Stripes". I sent this photo to a local newspaper editor today and was informed that they loved it and would publish it in their next edition.