Honoring those who sacrifice to promote freedom and democracy

Column by Bob Goodlatte

This Fourth of July we look to the blessings of liberty and are reminded of how precious they are.

Two hundred and thirty-one years ago, merchants, lawyers, farmers, educators, soldiers, physicians and pastors met in Philadelphia as members of the Second Continental Congress and risked charges of treason, because they possessed a vision of freedom.

They recognized that liberty is a birthright, not something granted by a king. They had the courage of their convictions to pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor so that a new nation might be born.

American Independence was not something that was won on a single summer day in 1776 when Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. Rather it was a movement that gained momentum from the heroic acts of these chosen few who thought liberty was worth standing up for amid a sea of opposition.

Few could have imagined how this experiment in self-governance might unfold. Our founders’ legacy is the triumph of a set of ideas – ideas which have galvanized the modern age and are the hope of oppressed people around the globe.

Ours is a noble heritage marked by self-sacrifice for causes greater than any one individual. It is particularly fitting that as we all gather to celebrate the birth of this great nation and the freedoms we enjoy here, that we remember and honor our brave servicemen and women on the front lines defending and promoting liberty.

Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are fighting the global war on terror and our firefighters, law-enforcement and emergency-medical providers who are working to keep us safe here at home are putting their lives on the line to defend our freedom and make America safe. These brave men and women seek a just and lasting peace for those who embrace the cause of freedom and understand the good that democracy can do for humankind.

Our service members have made enormous sacrifices even before setting foot on the battlefield, leaving behind loved ones, and for the Guard and reserves, their livelihoods. Our troops have volunteered to defend our country wherever and whenever they are called, and they are executing their mission with professionalism and unparalleled courage.

I encourage you in the midst of family BBQs, parades and fireworks to remember and honor our founding fathers and their vision of a great and free nation. Let us also take a moment to pay tribute to the brave men and women in uniform who continue to serve the cause of freedom today and carry out the vision of our founding fathers. These noble individuals deserve our honor, respect, confidence and above all our continued prayers for their sacrifice here at home and abroad.

From my family to yours, I wish all of you a happy and safe Fourth of July.

Bob Goodlatte represents Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District in the United States Congress. Contact him at www.house.gov/goodlatte/emailbob.htm.

The views expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect those of management of The Augusta Free Press.



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