On this the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, I am moved to write of my love for our homeland, the United States of America.

“The United States of America” … just to utter those five words causes my heart to swell with pride. For 244 years, we have endured as the United States of America. Through trials and hardships, through civil war, through the Cold War, through military conflicts, against enemies from without and against enemies from within, among all the other nations of the world, the United States of America remains freedom’s brightest hope.

And the freedom we now enjoy has not come without a price, a very great price. Over the long course of our nation’s existence, more than 1.3 million men and women have laid down their lives at freedom’s alter … those who, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, gave “the last full measure of devotion.” Oh, what a price has been paid for our freedom.

And beyond the price of those who offered up themselves in freedom’s cause, there is the price paid by those mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, friends, and loved ones who saw the precious lives of those they cherished ended far too soon. Hence, many more millions have sacrificed for freedom’s cause. I love America because of the price paid by her sons and daughters.

I love America because of the goodness of its people. Born in freedom, I have grown up and I have lived among the finest the world has to offer. Generations shaped by the Judeo-Christian work ethic yielded a population of generous, honest, hard-working, dedicated men and women who loved their families, their neighbors and their country.

I have had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with them.

I love America because Americans are the first to respond whenever and wherever disaster strikes in the world. Whether it be an earthquake, a typhoon, a hurricane, famine, or tsunami, the United States of America arrives first with the most. Let it be noted that those who condemn America for her excesses and seek to destroy our freedom have spent precious little time and effort to relieve the suffering of other peoples in the world.

I love America because my country has shown a generous spirit throughout her long history.

I love America for the diversity of her sweeping landscape .. “from sea to shining sea.” I love “her rocks and rills, her woods and templed hills.”

I love America because, under her umbrella of freedom, millions have been afforded the opportunity to become who God meant for them to be, flowering within our great free enterprise system.

I love America because God’s hand has been upon her from her beginning. At no other time in history have the likes of men such as Washington and Jefferson, and Adams, and Madison and Franklin shown up in the same place at the same time to fashion the greatest experiment in human freedom the world has ever known.

As I observe individuals, blinded by hate, bringing down statues of great men, and attempting to remove their accomplishments from our memory, I am reminded of the words of Winston Churchill … “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. Ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”

In the 1800s, the Frenchman, Alexis De Tocqueville — a political thinker and historian — came to American seeking to find the secret to America’s greatness. After traveling our vast land and interviewing thousands, he wrote, “America is great because America is good. When she ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”

As we celebrate our independence this Fourth of July may this be our prayer … “Long may our land be bright, with freedom’s holy light. Protect us by thy might, great God, our King.”

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