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Happy Birthday America!

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Aaron Oelrich
  • 436th Operations Support Squadron commander
Happy 4th of July to the Airmen, families and supporters of Dover Air Force Base! 

The 4th of July holiday provokes thoughts of fireworks, grilling, outdoor sports activities, parades, and gatherings with family and friends. John Adams, our second president, penned to his wife that this day would be commemorated for generations to come by "pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more." Celebration, rejoicing and time away from work are important to reinforce our four pillars of comprehensive Airman fitness. However, we should never forget the lineage of this sacred holiday both for our freedoms and the impact Airmen have on our freedoms.  

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Independence Hall, located only 80 miles from Dover, Del. in Philadelphia, Pa. to approve the Declaration of Independence. This Declaration officially severed the colonies from the powerful British monarch. However, this Declaration of freedom required the commitment, resolve, and dedication of volunteer militiamen that were willing to sacrifice their lives so others could live free. This concept of freedom resonates throughout the entire Declaration. "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." These statements are further reinforced when men and women are willing to take up arms to defend those freedoms from tyranny. 

Unlike many foreign military members serving around the world, American Airmen volunteer to take an oath to an ideal. We do not pay loyalty or homage to an individual. Rather, we each take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.  We serve to ensure the freedoms of all Americans. This service includes the knowledge and willingness to sacrifice everything so that others remain free. While the Constitution was not officially penned until 11 years later, the Constitution and our freedom is inextricably linked to that memorable first 4th of July in 1776.

While we spend time with family and friends to celebrate the 4th of July holiday, take a brief moment to pause and reflect about what freedom really means to you. Remember those men and women who have made sacrifices to safeguard our freedoms. Many nations around the world don't have personal freedoms. We are free this 4th of July because our men and women in uniform take up arms and protect our freedoms each and every day.

Take a minute this weekend to thank a Team Dover Airman. To the families of Team Dover Airmen, thank you for your unending support and encouragement!  And to the Airmen, , thank you for your service!