There is no finer country on earth than the land of the free and the home of the brave, as so eloquently described in Francis Scott Key's "Star-Spangled Banner." Since gaining independence from Great Britain in 1776, the United States has stood for 234 years as the unrivaled symbol of freedom, independence, diversity and possibility.
Thanks to our founding fathers and a history of heroic patriots, we are free to pursue our dreams, raise our children as we see fit and know peace on our soil. We are free from tyrants, servitude and oppression. We are free from religious persecution, government censorship and the kind of anarchy and poverty that leaves much of the world living in fear.
As we gather with family and friends today to celebrate the Fourth of July, let's also take a moment to count our blessings and salute our soldiers. Independence was not handed to us, nor is it granted immunity from evil and ill will. Independence is declared, won and maintained through sacrifice, strength and courage.
While we enjoy the fireworks, barbecues and parades that are symbolic of the Fourth of July, let us also be reminded that the Star-Spangled Banner still gallantly waves today thanks to innumerable American sacrifices. God bless America, God bless our troops and Happy Fourth of July.