Take a moment to reflect on how freedom was won

Tonight we celebrate our freedom with fireworks.

But before the night sky is lit up, we should take a moment to reflect on what it took for us to have not only our freedom but the riches that freedom has generated, nearly two and a half centuries later.

By riches, we mean the freedom to make our own choices, to follow our dreams, to pursue the lives that we desire.

This is a great day to recall what our Founding Fathers were saying as they boldly took up arms and fought for our freedom, then declared ourselves a free and independent nation and launched a new form of government.

“Our unalterable resolution should be to be free,” Sam Adams is recorded as saying to James Warren in 1776.

The Founding Fathers saw freedom as essential to a life of satisfaction.

John Adams, who became our second president, is quoted as saying: “I must study Politics and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematics and Philosophy.”

Take a look at all else that our children — sons and daughters — are studying in the 21st century as well as the creative and athletic pursuits they enjoy as a free people. We need to take time to appreciate how far we’ve come and the opportunities that are ahead of us. And we need to have reverence for the sacrifices of our forefathers.

“You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom,” Adams said in one of his letters. “I hope you will make good use of it.”

More than just make good use of the freedom the Founding Fathers fought for and gained for us, we as Americans have a duty that President George Washington outlined in his 8th annual message to Congress: “A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?”

Yes, we still have work to do to protect our freedom. But history has shown its value.

America, be ever vigilant. The freedom is worth the fight.

Now let’s go out — safely — and light up the night.