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Independence Day is definitely one of my favorite American holidays, both for what we are celebrating and also how we celebrate America’s Independence.

For many Americans, and people hoping to become citizens, it is relatively easy to take our freedom… our liberty… for granted. It’s kind of hard to understand what America had to go through to gain our freedoms over all these years. There were conflicts on our soil as well as on foreign soil. Good men and women made great sacrifices to insure we have the freedoms we enjoy today.

Frankly, we hope you will march in a parade, enjoy delicious barbeque, maybe have a couple of beers, enjoy a local lake, shoot some fireworks… have some fun on Independence Day. My wife and I will be enjoying the day in Gough Park with a thousand or so other folks from Grant County. And yes, I am going to have a roasted corn on the cob and some barbeque. I’ll probably enjoy a couple of lemonades. But the most important thing is that we will take a few minutes to reflect on why we are able to have so much fun. And we will think about what the future of our Nation holds for each of us.

So here are a few quotes I find appropriate.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." - President Ronald Reagan

"Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance." - President Woodrow Wilson

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." - Nelson Mandela

"Humanity has won its battle. Liberty now has a country." - Marquis de Lafayette

Some of you may not recognize the importance of Marquis de Lafayette. He was a French general who served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He provided his time, his money and his tactical leadership to help the Americans win the war. He was treated as a hero.

And then here is the quote that all of us should know. It is a quotation that should be taught in our schools. Of course, it is the beginning of the second paragraph of our Declaration of Independence.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men 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." - written by Thomas Jefferson

On this July 4th, we hope you enjoy celebrating our Nation’s Independence. We hope you think a little about why we can celebrate as we do. And we hope you have a very safe holiday.

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