Today, citizens across the country are celebrating the 236th birthday of the United States of America. Independence Day is perhaps the one national holiday that truly binds us together as Americans, as it transcends the religious and ethnic differences of our multicultural society. Nearly every American can trace their ancestral roots to relatives who came to the United States looking for freedom and opportunity. This common bond is what makes our country the beacon of freedom that attracts individuals from all over the world.
On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress of the United States declared independence from Great Britain, and signed the Declaration of Independence. The colonists desired to be free from the crushing burden of taxes and laws imposed upon them by the British monarchy.
They wanted equal justice under the law; not immunity from the law for individuals favored by the government. They wanted an end to state-mandated religion, so individuals would be free to determine their own path of faith. Above all, the colonists believed in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
This Independence Day, let us all reflect on the values and principles upon which this nation was founded, and recommit ourselves to preserving and protecting them for future generations.