Happy Independence Day to all. As I'm attending many of the events today throughout Northern Virginia, I wanted to take a brief second to give you a few statements from elected officials about the holiday today.
Creigh Deeds: "On the 233rd anniversary of the independence of our great nation, let's all give thanks for the liberty and freedoms we enjoy. As I crisscross the commonwealth this weekend, my thoughts this 4th of July will be with the brave men and women protecting our country and their families. Have a happy Independence Day."
Gerry Connolly: As Americans across the country head to the beach, baseball games, picnics, or fireworks it's important to remember what we are celebrating. The freedoms declared 233 years ago -- the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness -- are not free. Millions of Americans gave what Abraham Lincoln called the last full measure of devotion to defend those freedoms in the two centuries since. Tens of millions more returned injured. It is the paramount responsibility of our government to support those who fought for our country, from ensuring they have the equipment they need to win the wars they fight, to providing the best medical care on Earth to those wounded, to helping further their education and professional careers when they return home.
Barack Obama: Today, all Americans have a hard-fought birthright to a freedom which enables each of us, no matter our views or background, to help set our nation's course. America's greatness has always depended on her citizens embracing that freedom -- and fulfilling the duty that comes with it.
As free people, we must each take the challenges and opportunities that face this nation as our own. As long as some Americans still must struggle, none of us can be fully content. And as America comes ever closer to achieving the perfect Union our founders dreamed, that triumph -- that pride -- belongs to all of us.
So today is a day to reflect on our independence, and the sacrifice of our troops standing in harm's way to preserve and protect it. It is a day to celebrate all that America is. And today is a time to aspire toward all we can still become.