We are guardians of freedom

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii -- Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. They were farmers, bankers, merchants and inventors -- men from all walks of life who had a common goal to stand against oppression and tyranny. They risked their lives by declaring all people have certain "unalienable rights...life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." It is their legacy that reminds us freedom requires sacrifice. The examples of American commitment and bloodshed from Lexington and Valley Forge, through two centuries to Iraq and Afghanistan, bear witness to this.
Our liberty remains secure because of today's heroes and heroes from the past. We must also remember that with freedom comes responsibility. Just as our forefathers fought and sacrificed to uphold liberty and the right of self-determination, today we play a key role in protecting freedom at home and around the world.
As our Airman's Creed states, we are indeed the "guardians of freedom and justice." We stand ready to protect our hard-won liberty and the rights of others. That can take the form of supporting the rights of freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq or providing humanitarian assistance in Indonesia, China, or Burma.
This Independence Day, I encourage you to focus on the freedom we enjoy and take pride in your role as a member of our Air Force team -- military, civilians, contractors and family members -- helping uphold these unalienable rights. Please remember our Wingmen who have made the ultimate sacrifice as well as those deployed and their families. Eva-Marie and I thank you for all you do as part of the greatest Air Force in the world and we wish you a safe and happy Independence Day.