US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: Celebrating the Red, White, and Blue

thuneheadernewCelebrating the Red, White, and Blue
By Senator John Thune

John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressFourth of July is right around the corner, and as South Dakotans fire up their backyard barbecues or embark on family vacations to celebrate this summer, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the true importance of Independence Day.

Nearly 240 years ago, our Founding Fathers took a bold stand for freedom by declaring independence from Great Britain. It hasn’t always been a smooth road, but through the bravery and sacrifice of one great generation after another, America has remained a strong beacon of hope and opportunity for people around the globe.

From our nation’s heroes who fight hard for the red, white, and blue, to the farmers and ranchers who start their day long before the sun even rises, America’s collective strength is borne out of hard work, unity, and love of country.

Today the Fourth of July means many things to many people. It’s an opportunity for cities and towns to come together for picnics and parades. It’s a time for friends and families to share old stories and create new memories. Most importantly, it’s a chance to celebrate all of the blessings and opportunities that come with being an American.

This holiday has a special meaning for me and my family because my dad, Harold, a member of the Greatest Generation, sacrificed an unbelievable amount for his country and his family. He was one of many young men who served on the USS Intrepid during World War II. Just a few months ago, I was fortunate enough to visit the Intrepid and walk through the same halls that my dad did so many years ago, under much different conditions.

Whether your family is traveling or spending time at home this year, I hope you enjoy a safe, fun, memory-filled week. Happy Fourth of July, and remember that our freedom is not free.