As I hold my two precious children wrapped in a quilt reminiscent of Old Glory sewn by the loving hands of my own grandmother, I cannot thank the Creator enough for placing me in such a liberating land of prosperity as America.

Despite the angst and shifting sands of the day and the challenges we face at home and abroad, there is no nation more free that holds more opportunity for future generations of the world than does America.

By Divine providence, this nation, forged from individual resolve and respect for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, rose from its humble beginning to lead the world, setting our land as the place where dreams come true, where every person no matter the failings of yesterday could pursue and attain a positive tomorrow.

America is that shining city on a hill that lights the way for the downtrodden and depressed. These shores hold the promise of a better life, steeped in freedom and opportunity for all who dedicate themselves to the work required for greatness.

No, success is not free America; it costs something of each individual. It is not attained by mandate from the government or by redistribution of your neighbor’s resources; rather, success in America is solely dependent on every individual who gets out of bed each morning, puts one foot in front of the other and leaves his nose to the grindstone. Success will not be equally achieved; that was never the promise nor should it be in a free society. The promise of our Founders is the equal opportunity for success if you dedicate yourself to the work at hand.

How we measure success in America, however, is not merely in dollars and cents. Such things are fleeting. Prosperity in this land is gauged by the happiness and love we share with our family and friends coupled with the understanding and sincere belief that there is no land like America, no people like Americans.

America’s legacy is not in grand monuments or hallowed halls; it’s not in a President or any one man. America’s legacy is in the heart of a mother nursing her child to health, a father’s calloused hands working to provide for his family, an outstretched hand lifting another from despair, a love for the less fortunate the Almighty requires, and a willingness to strive with every part of our being to ensure the freedoms we enjoy are sustained far beyond our memory.

We are America. We are not white or black, Anglo-Saxon or African-American, Hispanic or Vietnamese, Baptist or Catholic, Jew or Hindu. We are Americans, and that is enough. Other labels only seek to divide us from our God-given heritage in this land. Such is the essence of our hope and existence as one citizenship in this blessed republic, not only for today but for all posterity.

So wrap yourself in Old Glory on this the 236th year of these United States and revive the pride in America. Determine to engage yourself in championing America’s exceptionalism and resolve to leave a legacy that embraces principled governance, celebrates individual responsibility, and promotes freedom and liberty in every action you employ.

Happy 4th of July!