Independence Day is an opportunity for celebration and reflection. While we are enjoying the fun and festivities with our families on Independence Day, I hope that we all find the time to reflect on what makes this country a special place in which to live. The United States of America is unique among nations in that it was founded on a set of ideas—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Our collective commitment to these ideas binds us together as a nation. The freedoms and rights that we enjoy, allow each of us to write our own version of the American story, based on unique individual experiences. The diversity of the American public should be celebrated as proof that the values that our nation was founded on, apply to people of all backgrounds.

Independence Day is worth celebrating because it serves as a reminder of the great things we have accomplished as a nation, as well as our ongoing responsibility to uphold our founding principles. From the Fourth of July, 1776, to the present day, brave Americans have fought and died to protect these principles. As a veteran, I deeply appreciate the sacrifice that our service members, past and present, and their families have made throughout history in order to defend the freedoms that make America an incredible place to call home.

As we are participating in Independence Day celebrations with our families, it is important to remember what the holiday represents. It is not only a commemoration of our nation’s independence, but a celebration of the ideas and values that make our shared history unique.

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