We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Those words are some of the most important words of the Declaration of Independence. This document from the original 13 states placed the world on notice that they were declaring their independence from the tyranny of England. The Declaration of Independence was actually ratified on July 2, but the Continental Congress ratified the final text on July 4.
July 2 this year also marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This landmark piece of civil rights legislation outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Arguably the signing of this legislation ratified the words "all men are created equal," as originally stated in the Declaration of Independence.
This week represents an excellent opportunity for all of us to recognize that freedom and independence come with a price, and that men and women gave their lives so that we could enjoy the freedom we have today. It also reminds us that we can never stop working to ensure that the goals of both of these important documents continue to be realized for all.