Rodeos, barbeques, fireworks, parades — these are what often come to mind when we celebrate the Fourth of July in Montana. In fact, these activities have always come to mind when we think about Independence Day.
On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence. From the very beginning, people understood the significance of what they had just done. John Adams, our would-be second president, wrote to his wife about his vision for future celebrations of this historic occasion: “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival … It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” And we’ve done just that.
While there may not have been a rodeo on the Fourth of July in 1776, our celebrations still share some of the traits described by Adams. And more importantly, our devotion to this country still remains, displayed clearly by the fact that Montana has one of the highest populations of veterans per capita in the nation.
From our very beginning, men from various colonies and backgrounds pledged to each other their lives, fortunes and sacred honor in the hope of freedom. Independence Day is not a holiday for Republicans or Democrats. It’s not a holiday for one religion or another. Independence Day is a celebration for all Americans, everywhere, to celebrate our freedom.
The cause for Independence is one that we often take for granted, but our Founding Fathers counted the cost. In the same letter to his wife, Abigail, John Adams wrote, “You will think me transported with enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means.” We still believe this to be true 241 years later.
America remains the greatest nation on earth. Generations of men and women have taken up the call to defend our nation and vision for freedom — and for that, we are very grateful.
As I travel across our great state, I see constant reminders of the dedication to country that was reflected by our Founding Fathers and it’s an honor to represent you in the United States Senate. Happy Independence Day and as the great song “America the Beautiful” states, “God shed His grace on thee.”
Steve Daines represents Montana in the U.S. Senate.