Gail and I wish all of you a Happy Fourth of July!
We mark this day as the birth of our nation and as the beginning of our independence as a sovereign and free people. But we also celebrate this day for its symbolism, for everything that the United States has come to represent in the more than 200 years since our founding. I speak of freedom of speech, a free press, democracy, the right to worship as we please, equality and opportunity, and all the rights we have come to embrace and cherish.
Independence as a nation was just the first step in our proud history. The building of a nation took the idealism and determination of the founding fathers, the hard work and sacrifices of the Americans who followed, and the patriotism and commitment of our generations and those yet to come.
Let us mark the Fourth of July by reaffirming our devotion to the ideals and principles we hold dear and ensuring we leave this precious legacy for our children and their children.