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Secretary’s Column: On Independence Day, Celebrate American Values

This 4th of July is a good time to celebrate the values and ideals that make this nation great.

Americans enjoy incredible freedoms and limitless opportunity.  We can say what we like, and worship how we believe.  This nation gives us the freedom and support we need to seek a good education, work hard, retire comfortably and achieve the American dream.

And even when the rhetoric from partisan politicians can seem angry or over-the-top, we have a system of government that holds honest elections and respects the will of voters.

Rural Americans in particular understand and treasure these values.  Perhaps that is why so many of them serve in our military – joining the finest armed forces in the world to protect and defend the nation that we all love.

And it is the belief that these principles are universal rights that makes America a model for the globe.

All over the world – we strive to support the rights of ordinary people who are working towards the same freedoms we enjoy.  It is why President Obama has sent a clear message to the Middle East and North Africa that we support their effort to take their future into their own hands.  And it is why he fights every day to create jobs at home so folks can pursue their goals and provide for their families.

So this weekend, as you come together with friends and family to celebrate with barbeques, games and fireworks – also take a moment to remember the words in the Declaration of Independence that have helped serve as one of our guiding principles since our founding:

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.

Thank you.  And happy Independence Day.

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