The 4th of July is always a big celebration for Americans. It’s a day filled with fireworks, barbeques, parades, and more. Have you ever stopped to think about what had to happen in order for us to celebrate on this holiday?

On Independence Day, we celebrate the day our Founding Fathers daringly took steps of defiance to separate the colonies from the British monarchy and tyrannical government. They had a vision of a nation governed by the people, for the people.

They wrote in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Our Founding Fathers established the basis of our entire democracy in one document that continues to shape our country’s ideals and serves as a template for emerging democracies throughout the world.

Their idea of self-governance was seen as unimaginable at the time and many thought they would fail. Nevertheless, our Founding Fathers and our nation’s earliest patriots risked their own lives and their families’ in order to publicly declare and fight for their independence from the world’s strongest empire. They knew freedom would always triumph over tyranny.

244 years later, we continue to gain inspiration from those patriots and reap the rewards of their strength and sacrifice. Can you imagine what our country would look like today if they hadn’t taken that leap of faith? We certainly would not be the symbol of freedom we are today.

Even though this Independence Day may look different from years past, we should still celebrate their bravery. Take time this weekend to give thanks for the freedoms you have because of our Founding Fathers and those who continue to sacrifice so much to ensure each of our right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

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 811-A N York St., Muskogee, OK 74403, 918-687-2533 or 202-225-2701.