By Representative Bradley Byrne (AL-1)
The 4th of July is a time to visit with family and friends while grilling out and watching fireworks. Many of you might spend the 4th of July at one of the Gulf Coast’s beautiful beaches or boating on one of our area’s special waterways.
Personally, I always spend the 4th of July with my wife, Rebecca, and our four children. With our kids getting older, it is a great opportunity to catch up and spend quality time together.
There is no doubt the time off work and fellowship is much needed, but I fear that far too often we let the reason for the holiday slip our minds. July 4th embodies our nation’s founders and all they believed in. July 4th reminds us of the countless men and women over the years who have served our nation in uniform, including those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. July 4th serves as an opportunity to reflect on just what it means to be an American.
On July 4, 1776, we became a nation by declaring to the world that we believe that “all men are created equal” and that they are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” which include the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Crucially, our Founders also said that “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
We are, and have been from our birth, a nation that guarantees our citizens’ very basic rights. And our government, as it’s very core function, is supposed to keep these rights secure. Our government doesn’t create its own powers. Our government only gets its powers from our, the citizens’, consent.
These freedoms are certainly not free. They were earned through blood, sweat, and tears of the countless Americans who answered the call of duty to serve our nation. From the men who made up the first Continental Army to the troops fighting in the Middle East at this very moment, they are the ones who allow us to continue to call the United States “the home of the free and the land of the brave.”
The fight to preserve these freedoms must never stop. Whether through legal challenges that may rise all the way to the Supreme Court or true battles against an enemy abroad, we must remain ever vigilant of efforts to erode our coveted freedoms.
We owe it to the great Americans who came before us and our children who will follow, to make sure that we remain a nation of liberty and freedom. That’s a responsibility I take very seriously while serving you in Washington, and one I hope we will all remember around this July 4th holiday.