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Independence Day

Cherishing Our Hard-Fought Freedom

This July 4th marks America’s 238th birthday, a joyous occasion that represents the beauty of our nation’s independence. As we celebrate, I think we should take a moment to remember the reason why Independence Day is so important.

We are here because patriots 238 years ago had the courage to put their lives on the line for freedom. They issued a document called the Declaration of Independence that would forever change the world. In one of the most consequential sentences of world history, the United States of America was founded on the principle, “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.”

Such a statement may be taken for granted today, but it was revolutionary during a time when monarchs ruled with iron fists. The Founding Fathers had to risk their lives, well-being, and their sacred honor to ensure America’s independence from Great Britain. Thanks to the bravery of our nation’s first soldiers and the extraordinary leadership of George Washington and others, America succeeded in charting our course as an independent nation. The fledging country survived its first crucial test of freedom.

I am deeply grateful that our Foothill communities are part of our blessed nation. We celebrate Independence Day to not only honor the values that make the United States such a special place to be a citizen of, but also the attributes that make our region such a special place to live.

For many of us, the Foothills represent the freedom and opportunity to be who we want to be. A drive through Yosemite and our other open spaces reminds us of how truly beautiful America is. From the Central Valley to the heights of the Sierra Nevada, we realize how privileged we are to be living in such a land.

Furthermore, we are a friendly and entrepreneurial people that cherish everything that our nation offers. As a life-long resident, I have seen firsthand the generosity and patriotism of our fellow community members, and that is why working for them in the State Legislature is such an honor.

While I appreciate the title of Assemblyman, there is a title that I am even more proud of – American. It is a title that is not based on race, tribe, nationality, or religion. It is a title rooted in freedom and secured by all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.

That is why I will pay my respects to all those who served and are serving in our Armed Forces on July 4th. I will also pay my respects to the Founding Fathers and all subsequent generations of patriots who have defended the ideals underpinning the Declaration of Independence. It is because of all of them that we are able to live here today in freedom – and why I am able to write this opinion piece in the first place.

Many in our region will be enjoying Independence Day at various community events such as parades, fairs, and fireworks displays. I want everyone to have a lot of fun – but to be also safe as well. Let us celebrate responsibly and toast another year of American independence.

Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals, is the Chair of the California Legislative Rural Caucus and represents the 5th Assembly District in the California Legislature.