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Celebrating Freedom and Honoring Those Who Make It Possible

Almost 240 years ago, a small group of brave individuals stood up to their powerful oppressors and declared themselves an independent nation, changing the world forever.  On the Fourth of July, we unite to celebrate the birth of our great nation and reflect on the people who gave us our freedom.  It is a time to honor our founders and remember that despite our differences, there will always be more to bring us together than tear us apart.

Back in 1776, the thirteen colonies had less in common with each other than they did with their oppressors.  It is a tribute to the courageous leadership of our Founding Fathers that they had the vision to see past these differences, and to forge a common bond, founded on the principles that “all men are created equal,” and that no government has the authority to restrict the rights of the people to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

These shared values are the essence of our Union.  If the signers of the Declaration of Independence were the architects of the nation, the foundations they built for us were made of the strongest stone.  Even during our darkest hours, we look back on the document that launched the ship of this Republic into the rough seas of the nations of the world, and we take solace in its words.

The celebration of our independence is a celebration of the beliefs we hold together as a nation; it is a celebration of why we are a nation; and it is, above all, a reminder to us all that our country was founded in faith and hope, and in the desire by the good people of the thirteen colonies to build a new nation where freedom would reign forever.

Before the parades, backyard barbecues, and fireworks, I have always found that events such as the Mass at St. Cletus Parish in LaGrange honoring veterans – an 8:00 am July 4th tradition – put the Fourth of July in proper perspective.  The Mass is an inspirational thanksgiving for and remembrance of those who have served, as well as those who are currently serving, in our armed forces.  We can never say thank you enough to these heroic men and women.

As you raise the great symbol that is “Old Glory” this weekend, remember that if your flag or flags have seen better days because of Illinois weather or are just getting old, my offices in Chicago, Lockport, Oak Lawn, and Orland Park will accept worn American flags for proper disposal.

If you’re looking for a replacement flag for special occasions, my office in Washington can help constituents obtain an American flag that's been flown over the U.S. Capitol.  Contact my office toll-free at 866-822-5701 to find out more information.  I am happy to provide a flag free of charge if you are a veteran.

Be safe and have a great holiday weekend with family, friends, and neighbors.  And remember and pray for all those who have made it possible.