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As we celebrate this momentous anniversary of the founding of our country, let's take a few moments to celebrate the true meaning of this holiday.

This is not just another day off from work for which we may or may not receive pay. Or just another day in our retirement, no different than all the rest. This is the day to recognize our history and rejoice in what makes this country of ours great.

As we travel to our favorite holiday getaway, or gather together in our favorite park, or get together with friends and family in our backyards, think about what has been done to ensure our right to travel freely or gather together in groups. In many countries these activities could be construed as threats to the undemocratic government and could result in persecution.

As we unpack our picnic lunches or regale out friends and families with food fresh from our kitchens, let us give thanks to all those who work so diligently to provide us with this bounty. Think of those at Valley Forge who nearly starved to death in the fight to make us a free country.

Think about this wonderful free country of ours which encourages each and every one of us to build our own store of wealth and share it with others. Think about all the opportunities which we have to accumulate our retirement nest egg. And just think about the opportunity to retire from the workplace and enjoy a life of relative leisure (if you arn't married, that is). Most workers in many countries must continue working until they are no longer able, just to survive. And then they are dependent on family and friends for their continued survival.

As we gather in various locales to view parades, let us enthusiastically participate in the spirit of celebration generated by bands, floats, civic organizations, and groups which have worked hard to make the occassion memorable.

As we congregate in the gathering dark to watch brilliant displays of fireworks, remember that this represents the very real bombs, rockets, and weapons that were necessary to achieve are freedom, that were necessary to continue the existence of that freedom, and that remain ever necessary today for the preservation of our democratic form of government. And let us remember that there are other Americans scattered around our world for which the fireworks are the REAL thing, threatening their very lives.

Let's break out a copy of that wonderful foundation document, the Declaration of Independence and renew the sense of freedom conveyed by those eloquent words of Thomas Jefferson. And contemplate what a gigantic step and momentous even that must have been to publicly fly in the face of an oppressive, absentee government. And revel in the fact that our form of government has survived and prospered for the 226 years since this document was signed by our forefathers.

And most of all, let's remember and salute those for whom this is a day on which they must work, protecting us, our form of gevernment, our way of life, and our precious freedoms. For those people, this holiday must have special meaning, even though they haven't been granted the day away from their work.

And let's not forget those whose routine work requires that they continue supporting our infrastructure, so that the rest of us have the means and opportunity to celebrate without disruption in our daily lives.

Join me in celebrating the 4th.

United we stand!! And will continue to stand!!

May God (or the deity of your own personal choosing) Bless America.
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