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Be proud of your role this Independence Day

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, starting the colonies on the path to freedom.

The next day, John Adams wrote to his wife, describing the time as "the most memorable epoch in the history of America" and saying he was "apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance .... It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."

Our founding father hit the mark. Indeed, 236 years later, we still celebrate our nation's birthday with cookouts and music, parades and fireworks. We deck ourselves and our backyards with red, white and blue in tribute to our independence and as a show of our patriotism.

As we enjoy the festivities with friends and family, we should also remember what our freedom costs, both to achieve and to sustain. Since 1776, thousands of Americans have given their lives in service to our nation, and millions more have put their lives at risk to preserve our democratic way of life.

Be proud that -- as members of the Air Force Materiel Command team -- we are a key part of that service, equipping our nation's warfighters with the resources they need to ensure we can say, "Happy birthday, America!"