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Freedom for all: our nation's commitment

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Happy Independence Day! As we all take time to reflect on Independence Day let me share with you some insights on what this special holiday means to me, especially this year.

First, let me say that it is my honor and privilege to return to Eglin to serve with you all as we continue the proud traditions of the 96th Air Base Wing and Team Eglin. We are excited to renew relationships with friends from our last tour here and we look forward to making many new friends both on Eglin and in the surrounding communities that so many of us call home.

Over this holiday weekend, as you spend time with loved ones and friends, please pause to reflect on what this holiday means to our nation and what it means for those of us in uniform. July 4th represents our nation's commitment to freedom for all. It represents our commitment to securing the fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These inherent rights have been our nation's foundation and focus since the Declaration of Independence was first adopted in 1776. Since then, every generation has accepted the challenge and sacrifice necessary to preserve those rights. At Eglin, we can be proud of our record of service to our nation. We stand ready to protect the freedoms our forefathers courageously fought for more than 230 years ago.

As we celebrate, we must remain mindful of our fellow deployed warriors who will miss the family picnics and the fireworks on July 4th because of their courage and selfless devotion to preserve our freedom. Right now, more than 350 Eglin warriors are deployed in around the world. They are fighting for our freedoms, and countless others are preparing for future deployments.

So, this weekend, as we relax with friends and loved ones and renew our sense of patriotism, let us remember our nation's heritage and reflect on our shared ideals. Additionally, we should give thanks for the American Airmen, both past and present, who provide the freedoms we enjoy in this great country. I plan on contacting deployed Airmen this weekend to thank them for their service--I encourage you to do the same.

From my family to yours...be safe...have fun...and remember all the great things our 4th of July stands for. Thank you for the privilege of serving our great nation with you and being a part of our nation's history.