Written by Senator Tom Berryhill —
Perhaps no day brings our nation and its diverse people together to celebrate more than Independence Day. Fireworks, picnics, parades. The Fourth of July is truly an American celebration. It is not only the birthday of our national independence but the birthday of our political freedom.
This year Americans will go to the polls to select our next president. No doubt before the elections are over, many Americans will vocally protest, praise and question the candidates just as we protest, praise and question our elected officials. But, unlike citizens of many other countries, Americans have the freedom and the right to do so. A freedom that did not come easily.
In fact, those who signed the Declaration of Independence didn’t even agree which day our independence began. John Adams and Ben Franklin argued that July 2, 1776, was actually the country’s birthday since that’s the day the Continental Congress voted to declare America’s independence from Great Britain.
Regardless, our country has followed the tradition set by George Washington, celebrating our nation’s birthday on the Fourth of July.
Our Founding Fathers struggled to start a new government. Joining 13 colonies with diverse economies spread over more land than all of Great Britain was difficult and made even harder waging war on the strongest nation on earth. That the United States of America has not only survived this rough start, but thrived for 240 years is evidence of the strength of our people and the solid foundation on which our country was built.
We are the beneficiaries of hard fought battles of politics and war. We enjoy our political freedoms, our barbeque and ice cream sundaes this Fourth of July only because of the brave acts of men (and women) who had much to lose in 1776 and in every war until today.
As we enjoy our time off and fireworks, it’s important that we take a moment to remember that our freedom comes from a daily resolve to keep our people, our states, and our government united in the preservation of freedom, equality, and opportunity.
Senator Berryhill represents the counties of Amador, Calaveras, Inyo, Mariposa, Mono, Stanislaus, Tuolumne and parts of Fresno, Madera, Sacramento and Tulare. For additional information about Senator Berryhill, please visit his website at www.senate.ca.gov/berryhill.