USFJ commander sends July 4th message

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Two hundred thirty six years ago, 56 men signed a document that immortalized their vision of a free nation. By signing, these men not only announced the creation of the United States of America, but demonstrated their willingness to sacrifice everything for the belief in certain unalienable rights - to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

These men were well aware of the risks they were taking, and the precious cost for their beliefs. As John Adams wrote in the days that followed:

"I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration and support and defend these states. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means."

What was true then remains true today. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines sacrifice much to continue holding these beliefs just as closely through selfless service to America. As we recognize and celebrate the anniversary of the birth of our nation, let us give thanks for the vision of our Founding Fathers and for those who have pledged to serve our country.

Additionally, I want to give thanks to each of you who make up the nearly 50,000 service men and women in Japan, supporting and defending our nation's most important alliance in the Pacific theater. The work each of you do day in and out is critical toward maintaining the peace and stability of this region.

The Fourth of July is a day to recommit ourselves to doing all that we can to ensure that our children, our grandchildren and all the generation that follow will enjoy the freedoms that are our birthright as Americans. As you spend the day with family and friends, please take a moment to remember the sacrifices of that time in 1776 as well as those we make today. As it was then, we must remember that freedom is not free! I salute you, our flag, and the United States of America on this Independence Day.