Today we have come together to celebrate the Independence of the United States. On July 4th, 1776 the 13 colonies announced their separation from Great Britain by adopting the Declaration of Independence. Celebrations like this one takes place throughout our country in virtually every city in the United States and around the world in our U.S. Embassys and patriotic communities. These celebrations take place to remind us that the freedoms we experience are not without a price. The Declaration of Independence states: 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.
I would like to reflect on the words of one of our greatest Presidents John F. Kennedy who gave his life in service to our country.
President Kennedy said:
To us, who have been reared in the American tradition, these rights have become part of our very being. They have become so much a part of our being that most of us are prone to feel that they are rights universally recognized and universally exercised. But the sad fact is that this is not true. They were dearly won for us only a few short centuries ago. And there are large sections of the world today where these rights are denied as a matter of philosophy and as a matter of government.
We cannot assume that the struggle is ended. It is never-ending. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. It was the price yesterday. It is the price today, and it will ever be the price.”
Tonight we celebrate liberty, freedom, and equality. These are the American character, the American tradition and the core qualities of who we are as a people and a country. Thank you very much and enjoy tonight!