By SWSM Editorial Staff

As we celebrate the anniversary of our Nation’s Independence with family, friends, and loved ones, it’s important to reflect on the true meaning of the Fourth of July. On that day in 1776, the Second Continental Congress ratified our Declaration of Independence from the British Empire, marking the beginning of America’s long, hard-fought journey to become the ‘shining city on a hill,’ promoting freedom and democracy throughout the world. 

“Let us, therefore, rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the Supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions-The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us,” said George Washington, July 2, 1776. 

His statement could not be more appropriate for our country today.

The American Dream that we all strive for today began with our Founding Fathers’ vision of a nation that embraced life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They stood up against tyranny and oppression across the ocean and demanded what amounted to a novel idea at the time: freedom.  Since the day George Washington was sworn in as our first president, numerous challenges to our experiment in democracy have arisen, but each time courageous men and women have banded together to fight, and often die, to protect our freedom.

We have stared down threats, both foreign and domestic, and each time the Stars and Stripes representing liberty and justice have flown high for victory.  It is important to remember that these opportunities would never be possible without the brave warriors of the United States Armed Forces, and for that, we are eternally grateful.  

Our nation has been through a lot this past year. Let’s all celebrate our nation with more heart, more passion, and a spirit of thankfulness for all of the ways we are blessed to live in such a great country. Please have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.