As temperatures heat up and our schedules get packed with vacations and kids baseball games, we make time in our calendars to see fireworks and celebrate the Fourth of July. This year is the 240th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a milestone that has me reflecting on what it means to live in a republic that allows for freedoms that many around the globe have never known.

In times of political turmoil it is easy to forget what ties our nation together, and we seem to talk more about what divides us than what brings us together. Independence Day is a chance for our neighborhoods, state, and nation to come together and celebrate what it means to be an American, and recognize the values that unite us.

The second President of the United States, John Adams said, “The way to secure liberty is to place it in the people’s hands, that is, to give them the power at all times to defend it in the legislature and in the courts of justice.” President Adams simply summarized what the Declaration of Independence initiated so many years ago, a nation that is governed by the people. The Constitution, the document that stands firm as the foundation on which our country was built, as written only eleven years after the Declaration of Independence was signed. The Constitution has been amended only 33 three times in 229 years, and serves as a compass for our great nation.

The heated discussion on hot button topics are not coming to an end anytime soon, but I am grateful that we have the freedom to have these discussions and make decisions about who we want to have represent us at that local, state, and federal levels of government.

Whether you find yourself watching the sky light up with fireworks in Fairfield on the 3rd or Hamilton on the 4th, I hope you take time to pause and reflect on what 240 years of American patriotism means to you.

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