Happy Independence Day!
July 4, 1776. Independence Day.
On this day, the Second Continental Congress approved the final draft of the Declaration of Independence authored by Thomas Jefferson.
Fighting had begun nearly a year earlier at the Battles of Lexington and Concord. It would be another 7 years before Great Britain finally recognized the independence of the United States of America—and nearly another 13 years before the Constitution was ratified and took effect.
Yet, 243 years later, it is this day we celebrate as Independence Day because with the final approval of the Declaration of Independence, a bold new nation began to take shape—a nation founded on the ideal that all are created equal and that all are endowed with inalienable rights by our Creator.
Today, we truly hold these truths to be self-evident, at times we take them for granted. But in 1776, government of the people, by the people, and for the people was a radically new idea—an idea punishable by death if any of the signatories were caught. These men, our Founding Fathers, staked their lives on this idea and thousands fought and died to defend it. In the centuries that have followed, millions more have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve this radical experiment in freedom we call the United States of America.
Today, some seek to erase this legacy, claiming the symbols of the Revolutionary War are outmoded. They say the leaders who staked their lives to establish American freedom should be cast aside and forgotten. These historical revisionists claim American greatness is a myth our Nation would do well to forget. They are wrong.
America is great because our Nation was founded on the idea that all are created equal and that all have God-given rights. America is great because this idea of liberty for all is timeless—and because throughout our history we’ve worked tirelessly to live up to lofty ideals set forth by the Declaration of Independence. America is great because Americans have made it great—through blood, sweat, and tears. There are no words that can change this reality. It is my sincere hope that all of us can find cause to celebrate the greatness of America this Independence Day.