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Happy 235th Birthday America!

Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.

Independence Day honors the birthday of the United States of America and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

This historical document drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 18, 1776 is at once the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty and our third President’s most enduring monument.

Written with unforgettable phrases, President Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people.

The words inscribed which we are most familiar with:

“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."

are the most potent and consequential words in American history.

As we celebrate America’s 235th birthday with picnics, patriotic parades and a night of fireworks, let us not forget the foundation our great Nation was built upon.

On this special day let us remember the work of our founding fathers who took part in winning American independence and creating the United States of America. It is also a most appropriate time to thank our members of the armed forces.

In Maine, our history demonstrates we have always answered the call of duty to defend our State and Nation. But with this tremendous responsibility is sacrifice.

During the Civil War, the First Maine Heavy Artillery experienced the highest number of casualties in a single battle. It’s estimated that Maine soldiers suffered an 18.9% casualty rate, including deaths by disease, the highest percentage of loss for any Union state during the war.

At the present, we continue to have large numbers of military members serving and currently are engaged in the war in Afghanistan that has resulted in Maine experiencing the highest casualty rate by population of any state.

It is with great sorrow we recognize so many of our own have given the ultimate sacrifice. The loss of one life is too many.

19 brave souls from Maine have given all to the war in Afghanistan. These losses are a testament of the patriotism our fellow Mainers encompass and I am forever indebted to them.

I salute our soldiers for their dedication to the defense of our freedom. If it were not for our service members’ commitment, from the past and present, we would not be the great Nation we are today or will be tomorrow.

So, this Monday wave the red, white and blue high with pride. Show you patriotism with a smile. Thank an active service member or veteran. Take a moment to remember those who are no longer with us.

I wish you a safe and most enjoyable experience honoring our Nation’s independence.

God bless our troops and the United States of America.

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