Today, we celebrate our Declaration of Independence. We remember not only the remarkable historic document drafted by that famous Virginian, Thomas Jefferson, but also the Resolution of Independence, proposed by Richard Henry Lee (also a Virginian), that prompted it. We remember that moment in history when representatives from the American colonies came together to list their grievances against Great Britain, to declare the colonies free and independent states, and to offer a powerful statement of guiding principles for future generations:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
As we commemorate history with our annual 4th of July Parade, family cook-outs, picnics, and of course the traditional fireworks displays that mark this most significant of American holidays, we can also be proud of the diversity of origins that has been a hallmark of our United States since the Revolutionary War, when many local militias were forged into one Continental Army by yet another remarkable Virginian, George Washington, along with a team of immigrants from a dozen different countries and states.
Happy Independence Day, from my family to yours.