Independence Day has always had special meaning to all Americans, a day that commemorates the birth of our nation. I often wonder, in unending amazement, about the courage and the selfless determination of those who gave so much for the freedoms we hold so dear today. This concept was driven like a spike through my being on the day I knelt down on the quiet shores of Omaha Beach; my back to the sea. The ocean was calm. Waves rippled gently washing ashore behind me as I looked up at the bunkers overgrown with vegetation, but still in place.
It is in this context that I would like to share a few moments with you taken from the pages of American History:
“My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!” Thomas Jefferson 1743-1826, the 3rd President of the United States. Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence.
“It is easy to take liberty for granted when you have never had it taken from you.” M. Grundler
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790, an American Statesman
“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country!” Nathan Hale 1755-1776. Last words before being hanged by the British. He was 21.
“History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.” Dwight D. Eisenhower (1899-1969). Supreme Commander of Allied Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944. 34th President of the United States
In my own words and quoting from my book, Ticket to Ride, the Promise of America:
“Never forget that much of the hard work has already been done for us. The fertile soil of freedom has been nurtured by generations of Americans willing to sacrifice everything. From Bunker Hill, to Dorchester Heights, to D-Day, to Pointe du Hoc, and to Vietnam, and beyond—the broken hearts, the spilled blood and the endless tears… the price paid in full.”
The America I know cries out to the world with boundless energy, the desire to achieve something greater than personal acclaim or ambition… the American people attempt to leave the world a better place because we live by example. We put out the fires and free those who’ve never known freedom.
Please enjoy The Fourth and take a moment to give thanks to those, some long gone from this life, who sacrificed dearly to give us this day.