Happy Fourth of July.

This is the day each summer that we set aside some of our daily toil and celebrate our nation’s independence.

It’s a good time to take stock of where we are as a nation and give thanks for the selfless sacrifice of those who got us here and those who keep us here.

When the American colonists declared their independence from Great Britain nearly two and a half centuries ago, they were risking everything, defying the authority of a superpower – and doing so without many of the supplies a nation would need to go to war.

What they did have, though, were the ideals upon which our nation was built and allowed to grow and adjust.

They were brave, yes. But they were also forward-thinking, intelligent people who created a nation that would be the beacon of freedom for the entire world.

Before they could do that, though, they had to win their independence, an independence we continue to enjoy because they were brave and strong enough to win it and because generations of service members have been brave and strong enough to protect it.

Today, we should remember all the people who gave their lives so the people at home could enjoy safety while reveling in the freedoms they sacrificed so much to honor.

We have not always sent our troops abroad – a task they unquestioningly accept – to protect our own people and borders. Sometimes, we have asked our service members to go across the globe to win or safeguard the freedoms of people they have never met.

It is because the cause of liberty stretches far from our nation and includes lands where freedom has forever been but an abstract notion.

Today is a joyous occasion, a festive day meant to highlight the land of liberty. But that liberty wouldn’t exist without the U.S. being able to call on its own, often volunteers, to leave behind the safety and comforts of home and going anywhere they were told to help protect it.

So today, spend some time with your family. Enjoy a backyard barbecue or a community celebration. Go watch an impressive fireworks display.

But remember the deeper cause of our celebrations and the many people who made today possible.

 

Editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper, not of any individual.