Celebrating the meaning of the Fourth
July 1, 2001
In the midst of summer sun, pool parties, baseball and barbeques, America celebrates a birthday. As America celebrates 225 years of democracy, I want to reflect on the noble acts of patriotism by our founding fathers, our veterans, and the national pride shown by all Americans each Fourth of July.
On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee, a delegate from the Virginia legislature, introduced the resolution that led to the creation of the Declaration of Independence. His resolution concerning the untied colonies, "are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States," built a foundation for the United States to flourish as a democratic republic.
It was on July 2, 1776, that Congress officially resolved that the colonies should no longer exist under British rule, but as free and self-governing States. Two days later, Congress formally approved the Declaration of Independence.
Since then, the Fourth of July, or Independence Day, has been celebrated each year as the birthday of the United States.
As Americans, we have been blessed with a freedom that countries abroad can only dream of. Our freedom has been tampered with, and some have attempted to restrict it. However, as Americans, we have stood up for the rights we deserve and believe in.
Today, we continue to fight for the preservation of the Constitution as the governmental document that organizes our country's laws and system of government. The best way we can do that is by working to uphold the rights guaranteed to all of us under the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and its promise of our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Our right to pursue happiness means many things. It means we have the right to work and achieve our goals with as little interference as possible from the government. That means allowing Americans to keep more of the money they earn without government taxing it too much.
Clearly, Americans are overtaxed in all aspects of our daily lives. We face taxes on almost everything we do. That's why President Bush's tax relief initiative was approved so quickly in Congress.
As a result, the U.S. treasury is now in the process of refunding some of your money beginning in late July through September.
Our guaranteed right to liberty includes the preservation of our way of life. That is why we must always be mindful and thankful for America's veterans and the men and women who currently serve in our armed forces.
Currently, there are more than 250,000 veterans living in Mississippi: 54,000 fought in World War II; 77,000 were in the Vietnam War; 39,000 served in the Korean War; and 33,000 participated in the Gulf War.
While we enjoy relative peace in the world today, we should not take it for granted and we must be prepared as history has taught us that in the future, America will once again be asked to answer the challenge of protecting our country.
Not only on the Fourth of July, but throughout the entire year, we should all be thankful to the 56 men who declared the independence that paved the way for the America in which we live.
On this, July 4, 2001, let us celebrate not only our freedom, but also those who made it possible.
U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., represents
Mississippi's Third Congressional District. Write him at
427 Cannon Building, Washington, D.C. 20515 or call (202) 225-5031.