Two-hundred and forty-one years ago, our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence. It would probably take another 241 years before I could express truly how I feel about this country because I love it so very much.

I have visited much of America, when it comes to its states, but there is still so much I haven’t seen. I have learned a lot about this country, but there is still so much I haven’t learned. The fact behind these two statements, and I hope you do or will eventually feel the same, is that this country offers so much to see and learn.

On July 4, 1776, the 56 Continental Congress members assembled and signed the Declaration of Independence. This was conducted in the midst of the Revolutionary War; it had started the year prior. The war didn’t end until 1783. The first draft of the Constitution came four years later in 1787. That wasn’t put together until tons of Federalist papers were written. It was an incredibly thorough process. The Constitution wasn’t simply written and administered. It was studied and redrafted and redrafted.

The Constitution was finally agreed upon in 1788. The government was not under its control until the following year. Twenty-four years later, the War of 1812 began and ended in 1815. There was such unity within the country, but it would be foolish to think there were not dissenters. Even during the American Revolution, there were Tory-sympathizers who were loyal to the British monarchy. They betrayed Americans, including signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Shortly after the War of 1812, the States Rights movement began and threatened to secede from the Union. During President Andrew Jackson’s time in office he came down hard on those states and ensured that they remained within the Union. Due to his actions, despite other things he did that are disagreeable and even reprehensible (the Trail of Tears), he kept the Union together. It remained so for another 30 years before the outbreak of the Civil War.

America has been stitched together with commitment, blood, unity, disunity, mistakes, prejudice, justice, impartiality and partiality, agreement and disagreement, fighting, bravery, ignorance and arrogance, pride, humility, sacrifice, honor, heartbreak, loss and gain, and ultimately by the grace of the Almighty. It is by this grace we have remained for 241 years and it will be by this grace that we shall remain a nation strong and free.

I would hope that young people and even older people understand that America has been a country of give and take. We are a country that is divided on issues and opinions, but we embrace each other fully on the ideas of freedom and liberty. We engage in full disagreements, but hold each other under the virtuous view that we are all created equal. These divisions of views are nothing to hold in contempt. If anything, they should be heralded with pride and admiration. Heralded for the sake that this massive country can hold true to the ideals first administered in 1776, despite the disagreements, mistakes, and disruptions. Study the election cycles and it is evident that our countrymen differ greatly on major views as they have done since the initiation of this great country.

Through it all, God has blessed America. He has blessed us with methods and circumstances that always bring us back together. We assemble as one on this great day in our history, truly the greatest day in our decorated short history, to remember that this is America and we are Americans. I can say with my whole heart that I love the very idea of knowing that. I love this country. I love this country. I love this country. And God bless it.