Weekly Columns

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress, announcing the 13 colonies would no longer be under British rule. This was a big step in the vision of our Founding Founders that laid the foundation for a representative democracy and it continues to inspire countries across the world to duplicate when battling tyranny. 

We celebrate this milestone in our nation’s history with the pomp and circumstance it deserves. We all have favorite Independence Day traditions from watching the fireworks, parades and concerts to spending time with friends and family with a backyard barbeque. 

Beginning with Flag Day – June 14th, we recognize the three weeks leading up to the Fourth of July as Honor America Days. You most likely won’t find this on your calendar, but Congress established these days and adopted it into U.S. code to encourage gatherings and activities that celebrate and honor our country. 

Though this period is not widely recognized, we are encouraged to have a sense of American pride in our daily lives. I remember reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing patriotic songs that reflect our love of our country. Students continue to do this and learn these values passed down from generations of Americans before us. 

One of the ways Americans demonstrate our devotion to our country is by supporting our men and women in uniform. Our troops have made enormous sacrifices to defend our country and our interests across the globe. These heroes are a shining example of the spirit, commitment and bravery of our nation. 

We salute our men and women who serve and have served in military uniform for their selfless commitment and immeasurable cost to protect this nation and its ideals. I have had opportunities meet with our troops stationed across the globe and thank them for their sacrifices to make our world better. 

Recently, Arkansas lost a brave serviceman who sacrificed his life in Operation Enduring Freedom. Army SPC Robert Pierce graduated from Mansfield High School in Mansfield, Arkansas. One of his friends in his unit said SPC Pierce always had a big smile and a positive attitude. I am confident that he was able to accomplish his goal of making difference. 

SPC Pierce is a brave hero who embodied the ideals that make our country great. We recognize him and the men and women who helped shape our country and those who fought to defend and preserve our freedoms. The 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence knew that signing this document was a risk to their lives, but their commitment to building a new country with the promises of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness outweighed the dangers they faced. We are grateful for their devotion to the creation of new beginning that we call home.