This Independence Day marks America’s 244th birthday. On July 4, 1776, the founders of our country signed the Declaration of Independence – the document that enshrines our core values. The ideas it contained – that we are all created equal, and that governments, in order to secure the rights of the people, derive their powers “from the consent of the governed,” were revolutionary when they were written. But over the years, our founding principles have become a symbol for freedom around the world, and today they continue to inspire Americans of all backgrounds as we continue in our efforts “to form a more perfect Union.”
There is no doubt that we live in challenging times, but we should also remember the turbulence of our nation’s founding and of other periods throughout our history in which Americans came together to overcome division, hardship, and global crises. At times like these, we draw upon what we hold in common – the values that laid the foundation for the vibrant, diverse, prosperous, and free society the United States has become.
Today, we celebrate the fundamental rights enshrined in our founding documents. Chief among them are freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly – the right to peacefully protest, and to write, report, and print all viewpoints in a free press. These rights have been key to preserving our liberty, and have served as a guidepost for Americans in our continuing efforts “to form a more perfect Union.”
We celebrate and support Americans, past and present, who have used their fundamental freedoms to strive for what is right and to build a better future. Today, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing wishes you all a happy Independence Day and celebrates the brave citizens who never give up on the dream of a better and brighter future.
Independence Day: Celebrating Freedom
By U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad