Before everyone goes off to celebrate America’s Independence Day in whatever has become your family tradition, I want to send this simple note to remind us all what a wonderful country we have the privilege to call home. Two hundred thirty five years ago, a group of patriots for freedom declared that the rights and freedoms of the people superseded inherited titles and special powers granted by the Crown to oversee and dominate. The Declaration of Independence was a simple manifesto that, in a very straightforward fashion, spoke a truth the world had never before heard. Those courageous men and their families placed their lives and fortunes at major risk because they understood that no accomplishment secured on the backs of citizens who are not able to enjoy the respect of their government is any accomplishment at all.
Throughout our nation’s history, those beliefs have driven bankers, oil tycoons, and the wealthiest of our citizens to join hands with farmers, factory workers and truck drivers with respect and commitment to a common cause: protect our freedom at all cost. In our lifetimes, we have seen the resolve of “the people” be felt across the world in World War II, the Korean War (yes, it was a war, not a “police action”), the Viet Nam War, Bosnia, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq. In all these cases, the only foreign lands the United States of America has claimed are those solemn places in which we buried our dead.
Today, many across the world (including several we call allies) take some pleasure in seeing us face the challenges of today in the economy, contentious debates between our major political parties and the importance of ensuring terrorists that would strike against America have no free passes to train in Middle Eastern countries. The mistake they make is in the lack of understanding that those long ago established beliefs in freedom of speech, respect for other points of view and honoring all forms of peaceful practice of religion remain the basic underpinnings of our great nation. And, yet another generation of our sons and daughters fervently believe in those basic principles and, as their fathers and mothers before them, are willing to pay the ultimate price to protect those principles. Today, as it has always been, FREEDOM IS NOT FREE, BUT IT WILL NOT BE SURRENDERED.
I wish for all of you a most reverent and joyous weekend of celebration of all the things that make the United States of America the steadfast envy of the world. But I also ask that, as you commune with the Creator in whatever fashion you choose, you remember to ask for protection of those wonderful Americans who will not be able to spend this Independence Day with the ones they love. They are carrying on a noble tradition that defines us all.
Happy Independence Day
CEO, Ducks Unlimited