Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not givens. Freedom is not free. For 241 years, we've fought, sacrificed and worked tirelessly to build the United States of America — to create, sustain, protect, preserve and defend the promise, the values, the ideals, the security, the beauty, the framework, the principles of a still-unfinished Constitution, the legal victories for progress, the tenets of a budding nation. I view America as an ongoing experiment, a far from perfect land and promise yet to be fulfilled, though a unique beacon, fragile democracy and delicately balanced power where — while we have tremendous strides to make before the dream, opportunity or justice are accessible to all — blessings are plentiful and the against-all-odds impossible somehow appears to be within reach. I believe in my country. I love my country. And that compels me to act for my country, to never remain indifferent, to recommit at the toughest, darkest or seemingly hopeless moments when all we know to be true may appear under threat, in peril, negated, overturned or forgotten. I treasure freedom of speech, of assembly, of religion, of press. We need open outrage, anger, dissent, critique, resistance to propel us forward toward a more understanding nation, more healthy communities, more equitable society, more thriving environment, more perfect union. I see the beauty, pain and questions in what America has been, what it is, and, above all, what it will be. I am honored and humbled to ring in this Fourth of July with our United States military overseas, heroes who never forget what it means to serve selflessly — like so many brave, courageous, committed souls in every field, background and discipline across the fifty states and abroad. I'm a proud patriot today and everyday, humbled to walk in the footsteps of great Americans who have made possible all that we are, live with, can do, work for and aspire towards. To America!