One of my favorite photos: Shot in Falls Church, VA on Sept. 15, 2011 -- four days after 9/11

Lots of people on the streets of Floyd Friday night as the area heads into a hot and busy Fourth of July weekend.

Fandango offers music, crafts and wine at the FloydFest site just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, fireworks will light up the sky from the football field at the high school Saturday night and yard sales line the streets of town and the roads around the county.

Good weekend to celebrate but let’s remember that we’re celebrating America’s birthday and the freedom that comes with living in this country.

While some can legitimately debate that freedom in America isn’t what it used to be, the fact remains that we live in a society that is far freer than other nations of the Earth but we must also remember that this freedom came with a price paid by the nation’s forefathers and the tab is paid year after year by men and women who defend us and that freedom.

I’m a frequent, and vocal, critic of our government and politicians I see as threats to our freedoms but when Old Glory flies and the Star Spangled Banner is played I still stand at attention and fight back tears.

I’m an American — and damn proud to be one.

Happy Fourth of July.  Catch you on the flip side.