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Monday, September 1, 2014

Our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor

Happy Fourth of July! I love this country. Two hundred thirty-eight years ago, our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to fight to bring about a world dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Unlike other revolutions, many of our leaders in 1776 were well-educated, wealthy members of the ruling class. They were not fighting tyranny because they were desperate and impoverished. Instead, they were willing to sacrifice their lives of relative comfort for an idea that we could all be better if we were free and equal. Many historians correctly point out that efforts to correct the injustice of slavery and the unequal treatment of women at the time were hardly part of the collective revolutionary zeal. Nevertheless, the ideas the revolution’s leaders fought for were radical, and the risks they took were extraordinary.

When I was growing up, I learned about the risks and sacrifices members of my family had made. My grandparents and my father emigrated from Italy. My great-grandfather emigrated from Ireland, and one grandmother, from England. My grandparents and my parents all lived through the Depression, and my father fought in World War II. I always marveled at the sacrifices of veterans in wars throughout our history, in battles we won and battles we lost. Immigration, poverty, war . . . so many challenges and so much given in pursuit of the American ideal, the American dream.

So what are we doing to keep that dream alive?

I decided to devote myself to public service. At times it was truly awful to be in politics, and at times it was so fulfilling. Regardless of what was happening, however, I saw public service as my opportunity to fulfill the duty I inherited from my parents, my grandparents and all who gave so much so that this country might prosper.

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