Every year on July 4th, we set aside the day to celebrate the birth of our nation which was formalized by the signing of our Declaration of Independence from British rule and in the signing, our forefathers were declaring on behalf of all generations to come that the United States of American would be a self determining nation. Our forebearers suffered through nearly a decade of revolution before a peace treaty was finally forged with Great Britain in 1783. Their belief in the formation of the United States of America resulted in our Constitution completed in 1787 and later ratified by the individual states to form 'One Nation, Under God, Indivisible" When 10 of the first 13 amendments to our constitution, what we know as the Bill of Rights, were ratified on December 15, 1791, our nation became a solitary beacon of freedom - the freedoms we still enjoy. In the past 200 plus years, we have been called upon on many occasions not only to defend that sacred concept of freedom, but also to share our vision with others. From our Continental soldiers to our military men and women in Iraq and around the world today, untold lives have been lost in defense of freedom everywhere. As the sun rises on this momentous day in our collective history, I urge everyone to take a moment to ponder the meaning of these freedoms that we so often take for granted and remember the closing words of this Declaration of Independence we so celebrate, "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."