Before the United States came into existence, there were 13 colonies bound under the rule of a king. 

There was a world where men were not equal, where a ruler had the power to grant or revoke privileges and citizens were subjected to the king’s brash decisions. 

The America we know today was born from great leaders, brave men and women, who despite danger took a stand and said, “No more!” 

Risking their families, homes and their very lives, they stood up against tyranny. They fought for the idea of a nation free from taxation without proper representation, trial without jury and a government without consent. 

Their ideas were revolutionary and would forever change the lives of all future generations born to this great nation.

Today, as we celebrate our independence, we also celebrate the determination of men who signed America’s Declaration of Independence ensuing freedom as an entitlement to all. 

It was with this determination that the first generation of the American Patriot was born — one who had a genuine love of country and willingness to sacrifice everything for it, without regret. 

Declaring our nation’s independence was certainly monumental, but since that night on July 4, 1776, it has taken generations of sacrifice to make sure it endures. 

Those of us who have fought for freedom know too well the high cost of maintain our way of life. 

A nation’s strength is not measure through military might; it’s measured in the patriotism of the people. 

Twenty-five thousand patriots lost their lives in the initial fight for America’s freedom. More than 8,000 were injured. The losses, though tragic, were not lost in vain, but for the future of our country’s citizens. 

It is said that where one story ends another begins — these men were the first to unselfishly sacrifice themselves for the creation of something better, a state of mind, a way of life — the American way. 

On the Fourth of July, we not only celebrate the birth of America and the start of our independence. 

We also celebrate the courage, bravery and sacrifice that today’s men and women of the armed forces display to protect the core values of America — the values upon which this great nation was founded. 

Even today, exactly 241 years later, our way of life and our vision of freedom meets opposition. 

But, with free comes great responsibility to defend it and our service members have proven time and time again they stand ready to defend what is ours. 

Today, as we celebrate our independence, we thank all our patriots of the past who have defended it and given us hope: not only for our future, but for that of all generations. When you celebrate with your families, friends and communities, I ask that you pause and remember to honor all American patriots. 

They are directly responsible for freedom we celebrate today — and we have much to celebrate. 

Happy Birthday, America. 

Dale Fischer is commander of VFW Post 3128 in Fort Payne

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