Happy 4th of July to all Americans and everyone who cherishes freedom. July 4th is the anniversary of the adoption of the American Declaration of Independence in 1776 during the American Revolutionary War. The Declaration of Independence proclaimed that the 13 British colonies who ratified the document were no longer under British rule. July 4 is recognized as the birthdate of the United Stats of America.

The 4th of July is celebrated with cookouts, parades and fireworks. I enjoyed a backyard cookout (I definitely ate too much) and am switching channels between baseball and several fireworks and music celebrations on TV. Things like this are usually the major concerns on July 4th.

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This year, every year actually, Americans should reflect on what we should be celebrating today. As I listen to the almost incessant sound of fireworks in the neighborhood, I’m thinking about the foundations of freedom and liberty, the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, elections where the voters not one person determine who wins, an uninterrupted tradition of the peaceful transfer of power that has lasted nearly 250 years, and the ideals expressed in the founding documents. These institutions make America strong. They are also the enemy of every dictator and totalitarian regime.

I’m also thinking of the service and sacrifice of millions of Americans of various political, religious, ethnic and racial persuasions who have protected or are protecting the country from the enemies of freedom. I hope everyone had a great day and that all Americans had a joyous and thoughtful 4th!