On Independence Day, We Remember What It Means to be an American

The Fourth of July is a special time for Americans. It is an opportunity to gather with family and friends to enjoy parades, sack races and baseball games, hot dogs and fireworks.

The significance of the holiday, which honors our nation’s founding document, far surpasses its celebratory observation, though. The Declaration of Independence goes to the heart of what it means to be American.

This year marks the 241st anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

On that day, 13 states formed a new nation based on principles that continue to guide us today. The men who signed the Declaration did so at great personal risk. There was no guarantee that the country they were cobbling together would stand for a month, let alone for two centuries.

If you’ve never read the Declaration of Independence, I encourage you to do so this week. It’s a document born from a unique American spirit of self-determination and which contains some of our noblest ideas and aspirations.

It was in the Declaration of Independence that our founding fathers established that we would be a nation that derived its powers from the consent of the people.

It was also the Declaration that proclaimed that we are all created equal and born with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The principles of justice, truth and righteousness spelled out in the Declaration define our national character. Those ideals form the unshakable foundation of American Democracy and underscore the belief that every person has the freedom and opportunity to contribute to the building of this great nation.

Ours is a country of immigrants who arrive on our shores from many different cultures and with many different life experiences. It is the principles contained within the Declaration of Independence that bind us together as a single people.

This Independence Day let us remember the lessons bequeathed to us from our founding fathers who stood together against incredible odds to turn 13 colonies into a single country.

Let us not forget that what binds us is not a common culture or history, but the belief in equality and the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.

This Fourth of July as you celebrate with friends and family take a moment to reflect on what it means to be American and the blessings we share as citizens of this great nation and the great state of Texas. Let us never forget that we are one nation and one people.

On behalf of myself and my staff, I wish everyone a happy and safe Fourth of July.