Our great experiment in liberty and independence turns a year older this week, but the freedoms we celebrate remain as timeless and universal as they were in 1776 when our Founding Fathers approved the Declaration of Independence. As you get ready to enjoy some time with family and friends, parades, barbecue and fireworks over the Fourth of July holiday, I hope you’ll take a moment or two to think about why we celebrate – and to thank those who have sacrificed the most to safeguard our freedoms.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It’s difficult to think of another statement that so concisely sums up the core principles of what we believe in as Americans. The sentiments expressed in that single sentence from the Declaration of Independence have motivated ordinary Americans to accomplish great things and make tremendous sacrifices, all in an effort to make sure that future generations of Americans have the freedom to determine their own path.
The Founders passed down to us a heritage of liberty and democracy, and there’s no doubt that we should celebrate that heritage with displays of patriotism. But I hope that we won’t lose sight of the profound importance of our freedom in all the fireworks and parades. And I hope that we also recognize and thank the men and women who have given the most to protect our freedom.
No one has done more to advance the cause of liberty than our veterans and those who are currently serving in the military. On a day when we celebrate our independence and our freedom, it’s fitting that we would also remember the incredible sacrifices they have made. The Fourth of July is a time for patriotism, and there are no greater patriots than those who have served in the armed forces.
I wish you a happy, safe and fun Fourth of July. Enjoy the celebrations and time with friends, family and neighbors. But let’s also remember why we celebrate. Let’s remind ourselves that we must cherish and protect our freedoms. And let’s remember to thank those who have sacrificed to defend our liberty.