Every Independence Day we celebrate our Founding Fathers who had the courage to go against the British monarch and create their own government. They had a vision for a government controlled by the people where every citizen had the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They also knew the decision to break away from the British empire was bold and would come with a price. But they had faith that freedom would prevail.

On July 2, 1776, Thomas Jefferson presented The Second Continental Congress with the Declaration of Independence, the document that separated the American colonies from Great Britain, and Congress voted overwhelmingly in favor of the adoption. The preamble to the Declaration of Independence made clear they were a self-governed people with inalienable rights. It reads:

We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

This document led the thirteen newly-freed colonies to war against the world’s most powerful empire. Although they faced inconceivable odds, brave patriots from across the colonies sacrificed for the freedoms they envisioned, and after eight years they officially won their hard-fought independence.

In the midst of war, Americans celebrated the first Independence Day on July 4, 1777. Today, nearly 250 years later, people across the country are united by the patriotism embodied in the Declaration of Independence. We truly are the land of the free and home of the brave. This Independence Day, I hope you take the time to celebrate the freedoms they fought so hard for and we still enjoy today. May God bless you and may God bless America!

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) represents the second district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached through http://mullin.house.gov, and at 3109 Azalea Park Drive, Muskogee, OK, 74401, 918-687-2533 or 202-225-2701