|Start Date: ||6/29/2012|| Start Time: ||12:00 AM|
|End Date: ||6/30/2012|| End Time: ||11:59 PM|
Independence Day is a joyous occasion for all Americans. Amidst all the picnics, parades and fireworks, Americans are celebrating 236 years of a kind of freedom that is unique in history. We have learned as individuals, and as a nation, that it is freedom, above all else, which allows us to make the most of our opportunities and resources. This Fourth of July gives us an opportunity to reflect upon where we are headed as a nation. To a greater extent than in any other country, Americans play a vital role in the direction our government takes.
We have all been told that we must never underestimate the importance of the freedoms we have. Each time we celebrate Independence Day – a day set aside to commemorate this freedom – we should all strive to be left with a renewed sense of commitment to exercise the rights which have been given to us.
Freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, freedom to petition the government, freedom of religion, freedom to bear arms... These are the birthright of every American citizen, each won and maintained through great vigilance and the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of American lives. While few would argue that the price was too great, we would agree that it must never be forgotten or taken for granted. Let us pray that we, as Americans, will continue to make the most of our unique and precious freedoms.
We owe two centuries of freedom to the brave men and women who have courageously fought to preserve it. America has lived through many wars – some have been divisive, while others have drawn us together. Perhaps the most important ended with a victory in a small town in southeastern Virginia, when General Cornwallis surrendered his British troops to General George Washington to end the Revolutionary War.
With that act, a new country was born. America has survived and prospered to become the greatest nation on earth. Our rights, coupled with our democratic form of government and the resourcefulness and self-determination of the American people, have created a quality of life and prosperity of which our ancestors could never have dreamed.
America today, despite the recent economic challenges, is still a prosperous, peaceful country compared to the majority of the world. Of course, we have our doubts, our problems, our conflicts and we always will. And yet, ‘Freedom,= as President Reagan once said, “is never more than a generation away from extinction... we didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream... it must be fought for, protected, and handed on to them to do the same.”
Our future holds many challenges which will test us for generations to come, but I have great faith that the experiences of the past will help us meet them well. While you’re out enjoying the fireworks, picnics and get-togethers this Fourth of July, please take a moment to consider why you are celebrating and to be thankful for this great country and our forefathers who envisioned our great nation, as well as the many who have given their lives to create and preserve it.
Rep. Sue Ellspermann (R-Ferdinand)
Ellspermann Edition, Freedom, Remembering why we celebrate the Fourth of July, 6-29-12.doc