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Our National Treasure

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With the 4th of July come barbecues, family parties, streets full of fireworks, noises and children playing. Many cities around this great nation have immense displays of fireworks, displays of patriotism, and the whole time the American Flag flies free. And it all started with a piece of paper.

“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 the Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
These are powerful words, words that are founding blocks of our nation. It is hard to believe that they were penned 234 years ago by a few good men that had dreams for a nation, for independence, and for freedom from tyranny. The determination, the wherewithal, and the hopes these men had were to build the foundation for freedom that we as a people, as well as many others around the world, struggle for.

In my journeys throughout the world while serving my country in the military, I have had the awe-inspiring privilege to witness countless nations fighting for the very thing that we as a nation hold so dear. It was an incredible sight for me to see some of the largest industrial countries in the world, where everyone is willing to fight the same struggle: to be treated equally and to be free.

Our freedom started on some pieces of paper many years ago with a bunch of guys in a room. There were no telephones, PDAs, or computers with Google. They were in a room with hopes and dreams for a something better; that something better was a nation. The words they used seem archaic and old now, and people don’t talk like that anymore.  But their words are the founding blocks that millions have died to uphold and protect. 

When I first read the Declaration of Independence in person I was in awe. The rotunda that houses the document is intimidating, breath-taking and moving. The surroundings shake at your soul and take you back as though you are on a time machine to the past, a past that is full of our history as a people, and as a young nation. It reminds us of our history, our struggle, and our beliefs. It sent chills down my spine and grounded me, explaining the meaning of independence and freedom. It reminded me that we are still a young nation, and not a perfect nation, but we are one nation.

We can’t think about “Independence” without thinking about this document. It is the fabric of our country, and one of the most important documents in our nation’s history. In the world we live in, there are so many millions that yearn for what we take for granted. And so the United States became the hero and the caretaker of many, and the new home to people from around the world that recognize the liberty and independence that our Founding Fathers sought to establish.

Enjoy this holiday, be safe, be responsible, and remember, there have been many, and are still many thousands today who are on the front lines of freedom. They stand guard to protect this day, this Independence Day, July 4th. And to think, it all started 234 years ago, with a pen and a dream. Kind of reminds me of a napkin I’ve heard about, penned about 39 years ago.