Editor’s Note: This was originally published in this morning’s edition of the Muncie Indiana Star-Press.
By Rep. Mike Pence

The Fourth of July is a time of great tradition across Indiana. It means watermelon passed around the family picnic table, communities gathered together at parades and blankets laid out on freshly cut grass to enjoy fireworks displays.

And so it should be. As President John Adams wrote of the first Independence Day, “It ought to be commemorated as a day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other…”

We would be remiss if we did not take time, as individuals, as families and as a nation, to commemorate and reflect on our independence. Today we celebrate that day over two centuries ago, when America stepped out from the shadow of tyranny, and founded a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

We remember the courage of our founders, who took this stand in the face of the most powerful empire in the world. And we pay tribute to the sacrifices made in places near and far by the men and women who have worn the uniform to defend the freedoms we enjoy.

America’s love of freedom is deeply ingrained in our nation’s history. We live and breathe the cause of liberty. Freedom is at the very core of an American spirit that is alive and well today.

We have seen it at tea parties, town hall meetings and gatherings across America. It is a force in America great enough to redeem our national government and reaffirm our revolutionary ideals.

This Independence Day, let us take to heart the decree of our second president. Let us celebrate our great gift of freedom with pomp and parade and the joy that befits a free people. Let us also commemorate this day with thanksgiving to God for the liberty and blessings we enjoy in our great nation.

Mike Pence represents Indiana’s Sixth District in Congress.