It is a beautiful day when families and friends across the country gather for the fireworks, hot dogs and baseball associated with July Fourth. As much as we gather for the fun and festivities, we also gather to celebrate this great country's independence. On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence. It was not until two days later that they had finally approved their statement describing why they supported Independence. This document, the Declaration of Independence, was principally authored by Thomas Jefferson and is the most amazing piece of writing in American history. It is a living document, one that has shaped and guided the decisions of this country from the outset. At times our government needs to get back to the core principles of the Declaration of Independence and be reminded that statements such as, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all mend are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" are just as poignant and applicable today as they were over 200 years ago.
Although John Adams was two days off in predicting the completion of the Declaration of Independence, he wrote, "The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."
So while we now celebrate our day of independence on the Fourth of July with the pomp and parade requested by our forefathers, let us do so while remembering those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedom and independence that we hold dear. From the Battle of Yorktown in 1781 to the Normandy Invasion of 1944 to the ongoing Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, brave men and women have made incredible sacrifices so that the freedoms fought for by our forefathers would be protected.
Wherever you might be this weekend, take the time to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in such a great country and take the time to thank a veteran for their service.
Regardless of our politics, we can all agree that we truly live in the greatest nation in the world.
Very truly yours,
Senator Tommy Norment