What started out as a celebration to mark our young nation’s independence from England more than 200 years ago, has evolved into a national holiday that celebrates the American spirit and our nation’s independent and powerful leadership in the world. Our nation was founded by recognizing a person’s inherent rights and responsibilities. We were founded on the principles of equality, religious tolerance, and opportunity. These beliefs have been challenged many times over the years, but have always been defended by men and women willing to protect these principles, sometimes by risking the ultimate sacrifice.

As you celebrate this year take a moment to reflect on the unique and great nature of this country and to thank those who have given their lives to defend our way of life, as well as the current men and women in uniform in harm’s way. Because we have the freedom to do so, we sometimes get lost in the details of whatever societal argument we are currently in and a day like the 4th of July provides a good opportunity to spend time with family and friends, enjoy our freedoms, and reflect on what a truly great nation we live in.

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