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Celebrating Our Nation's Freedom

Location: Washington, DC

Celebrating Our Nation's Freedom

On July 4, 2006, we will celebrate the 230th anniversary of our nation's independence. Our nation has grown significantly and accomplished quite a bit since 1776. When we claimed our independence from Great Britain and formed the United States we were a mere nation comprised of 13 colonies and 2.5 million Americans.

The founding fathers battled against tyranny in the name of freedom. The Revolutionary War lasted six years from beginning to end, and came at a great cost to the early Americans. However, the courage and perseverance of the colonies resulted in victory.

More than two centuries later, our military still bravely defends our liberty. And we continue to enjoy living in freedom because of the daily sacrifices made by the courageous men and women of the United States armed services. Independence Day gives us the opportunity to honor our veterans and the current generation of our military, which is answering the call to defend our freedom and to bring freedom to others.

Currently thousands of our brave service men and women are helping Iraq stand up as a free and democratic nation. The recent death of Al-Zarqawi exemplifies the dedication of our American troops in providing the tools for the Iraqi people to establish a united, free, and sovereign Iraq.

I was particularly proud to hear that the 4th Infantry Division was the first of the U.S. forces on the ground following the attack on Al-Zarqawi. When I visited the 4th ID in Iraq in April, many soldiers shared with pride stories about their efforts to support the Iraqis. They are doing an excellent job.

I applaud the Iraqi forces and American troops for their tireless efforts and ultimate success in seeing this relentless murderer put to death. Zarqawi was the most wanted terrorist in Iraq--directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people. While violence is expected to continue, this is a significant blow to the Al Qaeda network and terrorists. This is an important milestone for the mission in Iraq, and our service men and women should be applauded for yet another success in fighting the War on Terrorism.

The death of Al-Zarqawi is not the only evidence of success and progress in Iraq. The completion of the new Iraqi government is an important step. The dedication of our American troops in providing the tools for the Iraqi people to establish a united, free, and sovereign Iraq must be recognized and applauded.

Funding our defense priorities is essential to keeping our soldiers protected and our nation secure. I was proud to support the recently passed Department of Defense Appropriations bill, which includes significant funding for critical defense priorities. This important piece of legislation includes a 2.2 percent military pay raise effective January 1, 2007; provides $1.5 billion for improvised explosive device countermeasures; and an additional $725 million for personnel force protection items, including body armor.

We owe a debt of gratitude to all of our service men and women for their courage, commitment, and sacrifice on behalf of our freedom. I feel honored to represent Fort Hood and thousands of our brave soldiers and their families. And I continue to support our troops and their unwavering commitment to eliminating terrorists and advancing freedom and democracy. It is because of each and every one of our service members that we can continue to celebrate Independence Day.

Best wishes for a safe and blessed 4th of July!

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