Two months ago, I joined over 300 members of our law enforcement community on a 250-mile bicycle ride across Virginia. The journey raised money for an incredible organization, Law Enforcement United, which supports the children and families of fallen officers.

As I biked across our great Commonwealth, I couldn’t help but notice the churches, baseball fields, schools, small businesses, and parks that dotted the roads. In each of our communities, we find people starting families, opening businesses, volunteering with their youth group, or joining the Scouts. We coach little league, host bake sales for neighbors in need, and organize friends when a change must be made.

This is what America is all about. Our country is great not because of our government, but because of the endless creativity, charity, and ingenuity of our people. Our Founders knew this truth when they declared Independence 243 years ago.

Today, it is our sacred duty to pass on the meaning of America to our children. When our Founders signed the Declaration of Independence, they did not seek to create a government that gave the people rights. They knew our rights come not from government, but from God. Instead, they fought for the principle that all people are created equal, and deserve Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

It seems every time we turn on the news or open our papers, there is a debate about the meaning of America and whether or not we should take pride in our country. While we’re not perfect, I choose to celebrate America today and champion the foundational principles of equality, justice, and freedom to which our Founders aspired.

The Fourth of July is the perfect time to take stock of who we are as a nation and to pass on the meaning of America to the next generation. Please join me in sharing our values with your children, cousins, siblings, and neighbors today.

God bless you. God bless America.


Senator Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach) represents the 8th Senate District of Virginia.