Manchin’s Message from the Hill to the Mountains: CELEBRATING OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY
In the coming week, as we gather with our families and friends to celebrate the Fourth of July, I encourage every West Virginian and every American to remember the true meaning behind our national holiday. For me, Independence Day is a time to remember the values and truths that our Founding Fathers declared when writing the Declaration of Independence 236 years ago – and to recommit to those basic values that make America the greatest country on Earth.
Our Founders declared, “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.” With this statement, our Founders gave us the opportunity to strive to become the great nation that we are. We must remember the liberties that we have been given, and we must cherish them daily. Most importantly, we must honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
As we pay tribute to those who were courageous and brave, we are also grateful to those who risk their lives to defend our nation today.
West Virginia is one of the most patriotic states in the country. We are proud of our veterans and active duty members who have and continue to serve so honorably and proudly. Currently, we have more than 12,000 West Virginian men and women who are serving on active duty, in the Guard or Reserve and more than 170,000 veterans in the state. It is because of their brave efforts, and the efforts of those who have served before them, that we are celebrating Independence Day today.
And on this beautiful day, when we can come together as a nation, I leave you with this poem from my uncle A..J. Manchin about why our flag is so important. These words always bring me a smile, and I hope that you and yours enjoy it, too:
It’s only some stripes of red and white.
It’s only some stars on a field of blue.
It’s only a little cotton flag;
Does it mean anything to you?
Oh yes it does.
For beneath its folds
Our people are safe at land and sea.
It stands for a land where God is still king,
And his truth and His freedoms are free.
So, let us love it well and keep it pure as our banner of liberty.
I encourage you to participate in this week’s festivities with family and friends, whether you go to a parade or attend a picnic – please, if you see a veteran, thank a veteran. Independence Day is a time to reflect on our nation’s history and honor the individuals who have sacrificed for the liberties we treasure.
Thank you, and may God continue to bless the great state of West Virginia and the United States of America.