Today, we celebrate the collective will that gave voice to the voiceless and declared for all to hear: “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.”
Independence Day was just the beginning of our long struggle to guarantee the promise of that truth for all. That struggle led us through civil war in the quest for liberty from oppression. From the fields of battle to a century of civil disobedience and litigation for the soul of our nation, our history is one of hard-won progress toward that truth that was declared by our forefathers hundreds of years ago. We may stumble and find ourselves lost from time to time, but that is why Independence Day exists—to remind ourselves that the struggle to fully realize that ultimate truth is never-ending.
On this Independence Day, let us recommit ourselves not to hatred, bigotry, vanity, or greed, but to that ultimate truth that all are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Let us recommit ourselves to our democratic values that led over a million people to sacrifice their lives for the cause of liberty. And, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt reminded us, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”
Happy Independence Day!