On July 2, 1776, John Adams sent a letter to his wife Abigail: “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.” Although his prediction was two days premature, Adams’s sentiment was 100 percent accurate.

People all across the state of South Dakota are preparing for this upcoming week’s celebration. Whether you decide to spend it at the ball fields, on the lake or with friends and family in your community, the Fourth of July is a great opportunity to pause and give thanks to all the men and women who fought for the idea that was America, as well as all of those who have sacrificed to protect our country since its founding.

One of the most inspiring parts of our nation’s story of independence is that the Declaration of Independence, which so eloquently proclaimed our freedom, is still on display today in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. If you ever have the opportunity to visit our nation’s capital, I encourage you to make a point to see this historic document. The words on that parchment inspired a revolution, inspired a movement and crafted a vision for what a United States should truly look like.

As President Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

I wish all of you a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday and hope you’ll take this opportunity to share your celebrations with me. Feel free to send me a tweet @RepKristiNoem or an email through my website (https://noem.house.gov/) and tell me how you plan on celebrating!

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