Fellow Sons, AMVETS family members, and friends, Independence Day remains an important national holiday and a symbol of patriotism. Many historians agree that the Declaration of Independence included 3 major ideas: All people have certain inalienable Rights including Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. All men are created equal. All individuals have a civic duty to defend these rights for themselves and others. Regarding Independence Day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said; “Freedom has its life in the heats, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life giving roots, it will wither and die.” In 1946, then Congressman John F. Kennedy noted: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. It was the price yesterday. It is the price today, and it will ever be the price.” On Saturday, as we celebrate and commemorate our nation’s birth, let us take time to reflect on the courage, commitment, and dedication of past generations who have entrusted us to ensure the light of liberty continues to shine. And, to all veterans, those currently serving in our Armed Forces, and all 1st responders, our thanks for your continued vigilance and service to “We the People”. As we move forward together, I would like to share words from a July 4, 1962 speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. JFK said “A nation's character, like that of an individual, is elusive. It is produced partly by things we have done and partly by what has been done to us. It is the result of physical factors, intellectual factors, spiritual factors. It is well for us to consider our American character, for in peace, as in war, we will survive or fail according to its measure.” Have a safe and great 4th of July. Richard H. Thibodeau Commander National Sons of AMVETS