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GOVERNOR: The Fourth of July is one of my favorite days of the year. This year marks 237 years since the Declaration of Independence was signed and America was born.

Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.

FIRST LADY: And this is First Lady Ann LePage. For many Americans, the Fourth of July is a time for fireworks and parades or for heading to beach and having family barbeques. But we must never forget what the day truly represents.

GOVERNOR: On the Fourth of July in 1776, our Founding Fathers declared our independence from an oppressive government. They dared to rise up against the mighty British Empire, and their commitment and sacrifice forged the society of freedom and democracy that we still enjoy today.

Three of our Presidents died on the Fourth of July: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. Another President, Calvin Coolidge, is the only President born on this historic day.

FIRST LADY: Brave men and women from Maine continue to answer the call to defend our freedom, and we thank them for their service and sacrifice. Their commitment and their dedication protect our nation and the American ideals our Founding Fathers envisioned.

GOVERNOR: This year’s Fourth of July week marks another important event in American history. It is the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. The 20th Maine Voluntary Infantry Regiment led by General Joshua Chamberlain played a decisive role during the three-day battle, which turned the tide during our Civil War. Their heroic actions in holding the line prevented the Confederate army from flanking and possibly defeating the Union force.

The 20th Maine was exhausted and low on ammunition after fighting off repeated attacks from an Alabama regiment. In a final act of desperation, the 20th Maine fixed bayonets and charged at the Southern soldiers. It worked, and the boys from Maine saved the day.

Had the 20th Maine failed, it is possible that the Confederate Army could have invaded Washington, D.C. and ended the war. Our country would have been broken in two, and the ideals our Founding Fathers envisioned on July Fourth, 1776 may have been lost forever.

FIRST LADY: Okay, Bub, enough with the history lesson.

GOVERNOR: Okay. But I want to mention that I will be speaking at Gettysburg later this month as part of the ceremonies marking the 150th anniversary of the battle. History may seem like old dates and dry facts in some text book, but the results of our Revolution and our Civil War endure today.

The vision of freedom and democracy that make us Americans are under constant attack, and it is our duty to remember and honor the people throughout our history who sacrificed so much to give us our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

FIRST LADY: I’m not a history buff like you, but I do appreciate the actions of the courageous men and women who came before us and made it possible for us to live the American Dream. No matter how difficult politics can be, and no matter how much we disagree, we are all Americans first.

GOVERNOR: That’s right. No matter what, we are all proud to be Americans.

And I want to thank you, Ann, for your work with Maine’s military men and women and their families. You have dedicated much of your time to recognize and honor our troops.

FIRST LADY: Well, if it were not for our brave men and women who protect the freedoms we all share, we would not have a reason to celebrate America’s birthday. We owe our heartfelt gratitude to our military and veterans.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone.

GOVERNOR: Please be safe this weekend and have a great holiday.

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