SACO — On this Fourth of July, let’s take the moment to acknowledge and express gratitude to the Founders of the United States of America. We celebrate American independence as another birthday of our nation’s founding.

This is not the time to emulate Benedict Arnold, give up and oppose our great nation because of its flaws. Participate in its democracy. Be civil and respectful and remember the words of our noble Declaration of Independence that we should treat each and every citizen equally at all times and without hesitation – apply the laws of the land equally and promote liberty and opportunity to all.

Yes, we still have work to do. The recent protests remind us of this, and we shall endeavor to overcome our individual and collective shortcomings, but let’s do it not by bringing our nation to a halt in self-flagellation, or taking over city blocks and asserting that our rights take precedence over someone else’s rights, our privilege of living in this great country as afforded by our transcendent Bill of Rights.

Clearly, many believe that tearing down statues and vilifying our Founders is an action of catharsis to remove the original sin of slavery. America has paid dearly for its ambivalence on this issue, with over 600,000 men fallen in the Civil War, the degradation of Black Americans with odious Jim Crow laws and the trillions spent– ineffectively, in the view of protesters – since the civil rights movement in the mid-1960s. Yes, we still have work to do.

On this Fourth of July, though, let’s pause and simply say “thank you” to our Founders because it wasn’t easy to do battle and win the American Revolution, and clearly it is even harder to live up to the standards we inspirationally set for ourselves with that initial Declaration and legal translation etched in our Constitution. Rather than vandalism against our forefathers, join the celebration of America’s birth and independence.

Thank you, George Washington, the first commander in chief of the Colonial armies during the Revolutionary War and a young nation’s first president, who supported our nation during its formative years of government – a steady hand when a new nation needed to find its footing.

Thank you, John Adams, our first vice president and second president. He assisted in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and was its foremost advocate in Congress. As a key diplomat he negotiated the American treaty with Great Britain – no easy task, and with good common sense, he always sought the counsel of his wife, Abigail, on many worldly matters.

Thank you, Thomas Jefferson, third president and a Founding Father of the United States. He is most famous for writing the Declaration of Independence. Imagine the debates to drive consensus back then to create such a document.

Thank you, Alexander Hamilton, another Founder with worldly talents, not the least of which led to the foundation establishing our national finance system and treasury.

Thank you, Paul Revere, an American patriot, who helped turn the tide of British invading forces.

Thank you, Nathan Hale, another American patriot, whose quote for liberty lives on forever – “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country”.

Thank you all who have made the ultimate sacrifice to sustain this nation and all its heritages.

The flags are flying high at my home in Maine on this Fourth of July. We are not ungrateful for the foundation poured in the late 1700s. We know we have many challenges. But, let us be optimistic and remain aspirational in our nation’s journey to become that shining example on the global mountain for mankind to see and admire, so that all communities can be likewise inspired.

God bless America, my home sweet home!

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