Fourth of July Retrospective: A Hero’s Welcome

There’s nothing more patriotic than saluting a hero on Independence Day—especially when that hero gets to celebrate his greatest accomplishment: his family.

Garrett Harries missed the fireworks last year. His wife Melisa and his three kids, Sophia (8), Jack (5), and Dominic (1) had to celebrate without the USAID officer who stationed in Iraq. This year, it is fitting and poetic that as a DC family photographer, I can help preserve their precious moments together stateside in a setting that underscores their sacrifice and their significance as a family committed to national service: Washington, DC, and it’s scenic Independence Park along the Potomac River.

I love how these family photographs highlight the independent nature of this proud family. Whether the kids are off on their own gazing out at the horizon or playing in the background while their parents smile at the camera, they get to be their all-American selves—which is the innocence and beauty of America that we seek to protect.

But my favorite shot is a far cry from that independent theme. It’s the one with the Harrieses all linked hand-in-hand, traipsing across the river walk. They are a unit; they are a team; and most importantly, they are together.

As we bite into our watermelon and stare at the fireworks this Fourth, let’s remember that it’s beautiful families like the Harrieses that allow us that luxury—they supporting Dad, and Dad supporting us.