This July 4th marks the 245th anniversary of the presentation and acceptance of the Declaration of Independence, one of the most significant events in world history. The freedom and liberty that exists in the world today is largely the result of the Declaration of Independence made in Philadelphia in 1776.

The men who signed the Declaration were remarkably courageous. Everyone who signed the Declaration risked being hung by British forces as a traitor. Their unshakeable belief in the cause of liberty gave them the strength to take on the might of an Empire that stretched around the world.

The signers included some of the wealthiest men in America. They risked losing everything, impoverishing their families. They believed that freedom and liberty were God-given rights, not rights given by government.

Our Founding fathers were far from perfect. The America they created was not perfect. It took a bloody civil war to finally remove the stain of slavery from our nation and another 100 years to extend civil rights to all of our citizens.

What the signers of the Declaration created, however, was something unique in the history of the world. A government of the people, by the people and for the people.

The nation that they helped create has had the strength and flexibility over time to become a more just society. And the words of the Declaration have been an inspiration to freedom-loving people all over the world.

With the 4th of July holiday approaching this weekend, it is more important than ever to appreciate the abundant freedoms we enjoy. With the blessings of living in this great country comes the responsibility to maintain the great experiment begun in Philadelphia in 1776.

We must all do our part to ensure the survival of liberty and to create a more perfect society. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, America is the last best hope of man on earth.

Richard J. Nicolello
Presiding Officer
Nassau County Legislature

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