MADRID - For millions of Americans, this Fourth of July will be a time of celebration and remembrance of those passed or distanced by war. The annual commemoration of Independence Day has always been a bittersweet time for Americans who evoke the thoughts of Cordell Hull, "I am certain that, however great the hardships and the trials which loom ahead, our America will endure and the cause of human freedom will triumph."
First celebrated in 1776 and declared a legal holiday in 1941, the Fourth of July is truly the most American of all holidays. A time for families and friends to gather, the Fourth of July has become a benchmark between the blooms of spring and Indian summer.
Our national holiday is described best in the words of our most prominent leaders, past and present.
"Where liberty is, there is my country." - Benjamin Franklin
"Only our individual faith in freedom can keep us free." - Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The experience of democracy is like the experience of life itself-always changing, infinite in its variety, sometimes turbulent and all the more valuable for having been tested by adversity." - Jimmy Carter
This year as millions of Americans celebrate at backyard barbeques and on beaches across the country, we will remember the thousands who are far from home, and we will seek solace in the words of our forbearers. As Elmer Davis, the legendary American radio announcer and news commentator, stated, "This will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."
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