The following is a slightly shortened form of the president's weekly radio address, delivered on July 1, 2006. -- The Editors.
Laura and I wish all Americans a safe and happy 4th of July weekend. I'm looking forward to spending Independence Day with members of our Armed Forces and their families at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. These brave men and women risk their lives to defend the ideals of our founding generation, and I will have the honor of thanking many of them personally for their service in freedom's cause.
In 1776, John Adams predicted to his wife, Abigail, that America's Independence Day would be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. He wrote that "this anniversary should be commemorated with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward, forever more."
Since then, generations of Americans have done just that. Each year we look forward to the family gatherings and the grand celebrations that take place across the Nation on the 4th of July. And amid the music and barbeques and fireworks, we give thanks for our freedom, and we honor the bravery and sacrifices of all those who have made that freedom possible.
On Independence Day, we recall the courage and high ideals of our Nation's founders, who waged a desperate fight to overcome tyranny and live in freedom. Recent years have brought a renewed interest in the lives and achievements of our founders, and we have learned once again that they possessed extraordinary talents, as well as ordinary human failings, which only makes their accomplishments all the more remarkable.
For the brave men and women of our founding generation, victory was far from certain. They were certain only of the cause they served -- the belief that freedom is the gift of God and the right of all mankind. The strength of their convictions made possible the birth of the free Nation in which we are blessed to live.
On the 4th of July we also honor the sacrifices made by each American generation to secure the promises of the Declaration of Independence. For more than two centuries, from the camps of Valley Forge, to the mountains of Afghanistan, Americans have served and sacrificed for the principles of our founding.
Today, a new generation of American patriots is defending our freedom against determined and ruthless enemies. At this hour, the men and women of our Armed Forces are facing danger in distant places, carrying out their missions with all the skill and honor we expect of them. And their families are enduring long separations from their loved ones with great courage and dignity. Our troops and our military families deserve all our support and gratitude, and on this 4th of July weekend, I ask every American to find a way to thank those who defend our freedom. To find out about efforts in your community, please visit the website AmericaSupportsYou.mil.
As we celebrate the 4th, we also remember that the promises of liberty contained in our Declaration apply to all people. Because Americans believe that freedom is an unalienable right, we value the freedom of every person in every nation. And because we are committed to the God-given worth of every life, we strive to promote respect for human dignity. Today, all who live in tyranny and all who yearn for freedom can know that America stands with them.
As citizens of this good Nation, we should be proud of our heritage, grateful for our liberty, and confident in our future. Two-hundred-and-thirty years after America declared its independence, the spirit of '76 lives on. And our Nation remains proud to carry freedom's torch. We still place our trust in the protections of divine providence. We still pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to freedom's defense. And we still believe in the promise of freedom for all.
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