2012-07-05 / General Stories

Remembering The Sacrifices Behind Independence Day

By U.S. Sen. John Cornyn

On this day we celebrate the bedrock principle upon which our nation was built 236 years ago: freedom. Take a look across the nation and you would be hardpressed to find a stronger spirit of freedom and independence than the one that flows through our great state of Texas.

Home to 15 major military installations and nearly 2 million veterans, it is often said “Texas defends America.” Indeed, we have witnessed firsthand the bravery of our men and women in uniform and the countless sacrifices they have made to defend the freedoms we celebrate on Independence Day.

Just recently, a number of Texans gathered to show their appreciation to one of these heroes: Marine sniper, Corporal Daniel Peterson, who was severely wounded in Afghanistan in 2010. On June 23, 2012, Peterson, who has been receiving treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center, was presented with the keys to a new, specially adapted home in Tomball, Texas, courtesy of the non-profit Homes for Our Troops, Texas-based contractor Spawglass and the many volunteers who worked to build his house since the beginning of the year.

Cpl. Peterson said his new home would be a “life-changing experience” that would help to return his life “to some sense of normalcy.” Though we can never fully repay Cpl. Peterson for the sacrifices he has made, the efforts of all the Texans who contributed to make his new home a reality should be commended. This new beginning for a brave young man who gave so much in defense of our country is an important reminder for all of us on Independence Day.

It reminds us that freedom is not free—that generations of American heroes have sacrificed to enable us to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. It is a reminder that we must do all we can to show our appreciation to our service members, not just on the Fourth of July, but on every day of the year.

Let us remember with gratitude their sacrifices and live with purpose the charge so aptly put forward by John Adams in 1777, “Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it.”

May God bless you and may He continue to bless Texas.

Sen. Cornyn serves on the Finance, Judiciary, Armed Services, and Budget Committees. He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.

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