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Dialogue

“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s god entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, 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. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

“We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in general congress, assembled, appealing to the supreme judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

Read again — and again — those opening and closing stanzas that Thomas Jefferson and other patriots set down in July 1776 in the Declaration of Independence.

Because we are a freedom-loving people, occasions like Independence Day should mean more to us than just a day off work, picnics in the park and watching fireworks at dusk.

Too often, we take our freedom for granted. We don’t think twice about being able to freely offer our opinions, move about the country at will, or elect people to represent us — and then throw them out of office if they don't do the job we think they should be doing.

We are independent by design.

We should celebrate that choice every day, and take advantage of every right guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

It's what our founders intended.

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