A Bold Independence Day
A Column by State Senator Frank LaRose
July 04, 2015
 
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Throughout human history, nations have been formed based on ethnic identity, religion and tribe. The United States of America stands unique, because our nation was founded on an idea. Our founders believed in the simple yet revolutionary idea that all people are created equal and free by virtue of being human, that our rights come from the Creator instead of any government or king. For many that equality for all was not realized immediately but required ongoing struggle. A constant work in progress, each generation of Americans strives to perfect our great union.

This weekend we celebrate the birth of our nation. We recall that time in 1776 when these brave visionaries boldly signed a Declaration of Independence which articulated a vision for a new American nation based on the revolutionary idea of human freedom and self-determination.

In the midst of fireworks, parades and celebrations, it can be easy to overlook the incredible danger and risk that the signers of the Declaration of Independence faced. A modest, untrained army of farmers and merchants representing a loose union of colonies challenged the most powerful empire on earth, and few would have placed bets in favor of the colonists. Their victory may seem like a foregone conclusion through the lens of history, but the signers realized that defeat was both possible and certainly fatal. They chose to sign anyway, and the world witnessed the birth of a different kind of nation.
 
The universal principles that the Revolutionary Army fought to defend have profoundly shaped America’s unique history. Where founding principles have been misapplied due to politics and self-interest, as in the case of slavery and denial of female suffrage, Americans have shed their sweat and blood to correct these wrongs and extend the scope of freedom inside and beyond its borders. Our foreign policy is guided not only by national interest but by a conviction that all people on earth are entitled to freedom and self-government. As a U.S. Army veteran, I have a deep appreciation for how hard-fought and rare this freedom is throughout the world.
 
Nearly 250 years after our founders declared that “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states,” our nation faces a new set of challenges. From tackling the national debt at home to countering violent extremism abroad, the policy issues we face are daunting and complex. We have inherited problems from previous generations, to be sure, but we have also inherited a legacy of boldness. The same boldness that inspired colonial settlers to sacrifice and fight for their freedom was evident in the Americans who stormed the beaches of Normandy, who marched for civil rights, who ran to the aid of others at the World Trade Center towers. It may look different for every generation, but it is unmistakably American.
 
Today we all share the responsibility for acting boldly to defend the freedom and well-being of our fellow citizens, often without accolades or fanfare. From the police officer who stands in the line of fire to the teacher who strives to enrich young minds and mold responsible citizens, or the military family who proudly supports their mom or dad serving abroad and prays daily for their safe return, we all have a part to play. As a state lawmaker, boldness may look like negotiating a tough compromise in order to meet the needs of my constituents. It may look like voting my conscience in the face of political pressure. We carry on the legacy of our nation's founders imperfectly, but we carry it proudly. 

As we celebrate this Independence Day, let us be reminded of the extraordinary boldness that propelled our founders to victory and inspires us to serve the country that we love. Let us be bold, for it is our inheritance and responsibility. 

 
 
 
  
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