Like so many of you, I’m looking forward to gathering with friends and family to celebrate the July 4th holiday. All across our great nation, Americans will mark the anniversary of our country’s independence with cook-outs and fireworks displays, either in their own backyard or in public settings. Here in Missouri I’ll be cheering for a Cardinals win, too.
It sure seems like John Adams could see the future clearly when he wrote home to his wife to share news of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. As he told her, that event would “be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”
Adams understood that by declaring their independence from Great Britain and announcing their intention to form a country based on individual liberty and equal rights for all, the Founders were launching a great experiment. A nation such as ours had never been tried before. We forget just how radical these ideas were at the time, and there was no guarantee of success. Americans have every right to be proud and patriotic. Our great experiment in self-governance and individual liberty has endured. It’s been tested and tried many times, and yet our star-spangled banner still waves.
Each one of us has our own unique American story to tell. In my case, I was raised in poverty by a single-mother. The freedoms and opportunities that I and all Americans enjoy mean I was able to achieve anything I set my mind to through hard work. In this nation, we all enjoy the opportunity to pursue our individual dreams, with no limits beyond our own ambition, perseverance and dedication. That’s the beauty of our country. The freedom and liberty you’re granted here means you can amount to anything you want.
Despite my humble beginnings, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and attended College of the Ozarks, a fantastic college that celebrates hard work and patriotism. From there, I became a teacher, and I was able to help a generation of students achieve their own dreams and reach their goals. That’s my story. I know you have your own American success story. Each is different, but together they weave the tapestry that is the American experience.
I believe it’s important we cherish and celebrate the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. So many people around the world live in nations that do not recognize the God-given liberties that we often take for granted. Freedom isn’t free, and Americans had to fight to secure our liberties. That’s why we cheer, and often lend a hand, when God’s children across the globe struggle to achieve their own independence from despots and tyrants.
As we enjoy our barbecue and fireworks this weekend, I hope we’ll all take a moment to reflect on the blessings of liberty, and remember all who have continually fought to defend our freedoms. We are forever in debt for their sacrifice and honor. Have a safe and joyous Independence Day weekend, but please take time to consider how blessed we are to live in a country where we have the freedom to celebrate that independence.
It is my honor to serve the residents of Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Ripley, Texas, Webster and Wright counties in the Missouri Senate, and it’s always a pleasure to hear from friends and family back home. If I can help you in any way, please call my Capitol Office at 573-751-1882, or my District Office at 417-596-9011. You can also visit my webpage at www.senate.mo.gov/mem33, on Facebook: @SenatorKarlaEslinger, or follow me on Twitter: @seneslingermo.