This Fourth of July we look to the blessings of liberty and are reminded of how precious they are.
Over 225 years ago, a group of men, made up of merchants, lawyers, farmers, educators, soldiers, physicians and pastors, risked charges of treason, because they possessed a vision.
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.
Few could have imagined how this experiment in self-governance might unfold. Our founder's 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. Those in our armed forces who have answered the call to service are often willing to pay the last full measure of devotion so that this nation might remain a shining city on a hill.
Last week the House passed legislation which will offer critical support to men and women on the front lines defending and promoting liberty, including funding designated specifically for ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The bill also fully funds military pay and medical programs, including a well-deserved 3.5% pay raise next year. In addition, the legislation provides for the initial deployment of national missile defenses and continued investment in theater missile defenses. The bill also includes over $2.3 billion for individual soldier equipment and critical force protection requirements, such as individual body armor and armored Humvees, and it accelerates the process of restocking our ground forces inventory.
Thomas Paine, the political commentator whose writings laid the foundation for the American Revolution, said of the days in which he was living, "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."
We are grateful that we are not the children of 'summer soldiers and sunshine patriots.' Instead we glory in the shadows of history's giants descendants of individuals the likes of which the world has rarely seen gathered at one place, for one purpose, at one time. Their legacy is the millions of brave men and women in our armed forced and law enforcement organizations who continue to serve the cause of freedom today.
I encourage you in the midst of BBQ's and fireworks to pay homage to their sacrifice, marvel at their vision, and commit on this, the celebration of our nation's birth, to be steadfast guardians of liberty, so that our children and grandchildren might also enjoy this grand experiment called America.