Itâ€™s more than barbecuing. It is literally a birthday â€“ the birthday of freedom. On this day, in 1776, the United States of America declared its independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain through the adoption of the Declaration of Independence â€“ exactly 238 years ago.
The Fourth of July is a very special day in our countryâ€™s history – more than just another federal holiday. Itâ€™s more than the excitement of fireworks or more parades.
During that particular Fourth of July in 1776 was born the American perseverance and resolve that would carry the nation forward and transform it into a world leader â€“ forever changing the course of history. Over the next couple of days, Iâ€™ll be spending time in Del Rio, Fort Davis and Alpine â€“ visiting with constituents in 23rd District of Texas and remembering and honoring those who first fought to gain this nationâ€™s independence, and those who dared to think all people are created equal with certain unalienable rights â€“ life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. During this time, I will also be honoring those who continue to protect our freedoms.
Over the more than two hundred years our country has grown, we have faced challenges and growing pains, but through a determination uniquely American, our nation has always continued to move forward. We are one of the few nations were many voices become one, and we strive each day to be better.
Just as important as this day is in our countryâ€™s history, it is important to reflect and remember the many that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country â€“ those service members who never returned home, and those early Americans who bravely fought against the odds. Their sacrifice paved the way for us. For you. For me. For all Americans. From our fighting men and women to those now serving in distant places like Korea, Afghanistan or Iraq â€“ we owe them much more than words can ever express.
Our troops have been through numerous wars and conflicts. Each time we have lost loved ones: sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, husbands and wives â€“ among others. While we often recognize the sacrifice of the service members, we do not always recognize their families and loved ones for their service and sacrifice as well. They, too, have done much to allow our country to become the great land that it is.
Being on the House Armed Services Committee in Congress, I visit our troops fairly regularly. I see their sacrifices. I think of their work â€“ and of the lives not lived â€“ of what they knowingly gave up in order to serve our country. For that, I say THANK YOU.
So on this Fourth of July â€“ enjoy the baseball games, picnics and parties, but most importantly, be honored and humbled to say you live in the greatest country on earth. The United States of America â€“ land of the free because of the brave. Happy Fourth of July!
U.S. Representative Pete P. Gallego, D-Alpine, represents the 23rd District of Texas, which includes all or parts of 29 counties in southwest Texas, stretching from San Antonio to El Paso. He serves on the House Armed Services and House Agriculture Committees.