In 1826, fifty years after we became united, free and independent states, President Thomas Jefferson - shortly before his death - declared "Let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them."
As we celebrate Independence Day, we remember the rights our founding fathers sought to secure, the women and men who have served our nation, and the work we must still do to honor them.
Good morning, I am Janet Mills, Governor of the State of Maine. Thank you for listening.
Independence was not easily won, either on the battlefield or in Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed so many years ago.
Historian Garry Wills described this best when he recounted the feelings of one of the founding fathers, saying “Adams, remarking the difficulty with which the resolution of independence was passed, said it was like getting thirteen clocks to strike at the same instant."
At the moment when our need to unite was the greatest, on the brink of war with a world power and with our future in the balance we overcame disagreement to declare that we were free.
Today we still struggle to set the moral compass of our country, to acknowledge the mistakes of our past and present and to build a brighter future together.
What binds us together in these difficult times is the promise that has always carried us - that all are created equal, that we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
That is a promise we keep not based on a person’s religion or race, gender or political party, but on the belief in a free nation with liberty and fairness for all.
As we gather with friends, family, and neighbors this holiday weekend, let’s remember the full history of this nation, let’s honor the sacrifices of service members who have protected our precious freedoms, and recommit ourselves to the pursuit of a more perfect union.
I wish you and your loved ones a safe and Happy Fourth of July Weekend.
I am Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.