Commentary: Founding fathers’ ideals of independence upheld today

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- We all enjoy a great many freedoms. Over the July 4th weekend, many of us will get together for a cookout or to watch fireworks with friends and family as we celebrate our nation's 235th birthday. While we certainly look forward to those activities, we should also use the holiday as an opportunity to reflect on exactly why it is we're able to celebrate.

Historians tell us the men who signed the Declaration of Independence did not foresee the document's ultimate significance to future generations. The Continental Congress actually had more pressing concerns -- the nation's founders knew their signatures would be their death sentences if the American Revolution failed.

However, we have not maintained our independence on the courageousness of our forefathers alone. Since 1776, thousands of Americans have given their lives in service to our nation, and millions more have put their lives at risk to preserve our democratic way of life and our individual freedom.

Air Force Materiel Command is a key part of this service. We support democracy and uphold the ideals of our predecessors when we provide our nation's warfighters with the resources they need to win.

So enjoy July 4th festivities as you celebrate this special time for remembrance and patriotism. Be safe, and be proud that, thanks to you, America remains free and independent -- the land of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Happy Birthday, America!