America is a special place.
We are special because we are especially diverse.
We are a grand quilt of unlike faces all belonging to Americans. From countries as far apart on a map as Uzbekistan and Uruguay—or from states as different as California and the Carolinas—we have all made this single place our home.
We are special because we are especially new.
We live in the birthplace of the American Experiment, not even 250 years old. A baby among nations entering old, old age. The Framers of the Constitution started this country on a roll of the dice. We all live with the winnings of that gamble. And every year we still figure out how to divvy up the chips.
We are special because we are especially free.
The Declaration of Independence makes a powerful promise. We are all created equal. We all own natural rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In America’s past, claims to those rights have been unequally granted. But in America we have the special privilege to make the future that perfects that powerful promise.
On Independence Day, we should celebrate the beginning of this place we call home. None of us would choose to live anywhere else in the world. Other parts of the world may show us how we can add to the richness of American life, but we lead that life right here.
On Independence Day, we must also celebrate the America to come. The place where we have the extraordinary opportunity to fill up this home with opportunities for all.
The Constitution calls for us to work to make America a more perfect Union. It is not just our right as Americans to ensure that we all get to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is our patriotic duty to ensure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans.
As we fire up the grills in our backyards or on our stoops—as we ready the fireworks over the lake or in the center of our street—as we sidle up next to our families and friends—let us know truly what we celebrate on this holiday.
We join a long chain of Americans living and gone who have seen the Fourth of July coming on the calendar as a reminder of the holiday and as a reminder of the powerful promise. Every year we celebrate is another year we recommit ourselves to perfecting that promise. Freedom and justice for all. An Independence Day for when all are independent.