On July 4th, 1776, Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, and Americans came together as a people to embrace what unites us: valor, vision, and the revolutionary dream of a democracy in which all people are created and treated equally under the law. On this day, across our state, we recall the bravery of those patriots who declared independence from a powerful empire, and we honor the enduring spirit of America that continues to burn so brightly today.

Fighting against the world's primary military and economic superpower, the first Americans forged this seemingly unattainable democratic dream with tenacity and courage in the face of unspeakable odds. Today, we see this resolve and drive embedded deep in the bedrock of our society. Though this vision has come with tremendous cost over the past two and a half centuries, from the patriot militias originally fighting for independence to the sacrifices made by our Armed Forced protecting our country around the world, this heroism has allowed our people to explore, discover, and redefine American potential.

Even as this day of celebration serves as a reminder of those who made great sacrifices to let America thrive, it also invokes our duty as a people to ensure that our Nation lives up to its promise of a democracy in which all people are created and treated equally under the law. We must not remain complacent with the work already done by our forefathers: we must stride ahead, join together, and carry that same valiant spirit with us as we confront the challenges of tomorrow. Though these challenges are daunting, we've faced adversity time and time again and won by coming together as a people and fighting to become a better community and a better union. The perseverance of those who came before us— the original patriots, our ancestors who emigrated here, the labor and civil rights leaders who challenged the darkest parts of our collective humanity— paves the way for the American Dream today. On our Nation's birthday, we remember and honor the enduring spirit of American democracy, and look forward to the trails we will continue to blaze in unity, equity, and inclusiveness.