On July 4, 1776, amid the American Revolutionary War, church bells rang throughout Philadelphia as the President of the Continental Congress, John Hancock, had just signed the Declaration of Independence.
Two days earlier, the Second Continental Congress approved a resolution stating that “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent States.” It was in the sweltering heat of Congress’ Philadelphia meeting house, in which Richard Henry Lee rose to ask for a newly declared independent government. This action was radical but had been anticipated, nonetheless, since the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord.
The American Revolution, and the institutions built from it, codified the language and ideas of what would later be defined as the American dream. “Keeping it” or preserving the newly founded American democratic republic has always been, and remains to be the overarching concern of America’s greatest leaders.
Our Founding Fathers established what President Ronald Reagan described as “the shining city upon a hill.” Despite the challenges all nations and humanity face, America became a beacon of hope for the world. Since its inception, this nation has stood steadfast in pursuit of the ideals of liberty and justice for all.
Four score and seven years after July 4, 1776, President Abraham Lincoln used the compelling words and lofty ideals of the Declaration as the basis for his Gettysburg Address. This famous speech consecrated the country’s sacrifices in the Civil War and redefined the new nation as a land of equality for all.
It was America, none other, which produced the Greatest Generation. An American flag is planted on the moon as our country led the world’s venture toward the heavens. The United States has led the world in medical and technological innovation, and American capitalism has improved the standard of living for nations across the globe. It will be American soldiers, scientists, engineers, teachers, doctors, and patriotic citizens who continue to be the voices echoing from this “shining city upon the hill,” as our great country remains the light for the world to see — hope for the American dream.
In the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic and all of the challenges it has brought, I believe this July 4 will be most extraordinary. Perhaps now more than ever, we appreciate the liberties and opportunities we have as American citizens. I hope that together, as proud Kentuckians, we will continue to strive for unity and peace for our country and our people.
Richard Henry Lee once said, “It must never be forgotten … that the liberties of the people are not so safe under the gracious manner of government as by the limitation of power.”
Just as Lee rose in that Congressional meeting room, I will continue to stand up for the rights and liberties we are endowed. We are one nation and one people, under God, and united we will continue to make our Founding Fathers’ Declaration many years ago a reality today.
I am thankful for the privilege of representing Daviess, Hancock, and McLean counties in the Kentucky Senate, and I welcome constituent comments on issues of importance to you. You can call me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or email me at Matt.Castlen@LRC.ky.gov. You can also review the Legislature’s work online at www.legislature.ky.gov.
I wish you and your family a safe and happy Independence Day. God bless America.