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Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Djou: What Independence Day Means to Me
By Rep Charles Djou @ 5:54 PM :: 5767 Views :: Energy, Environment

Independence Day is rightfully a day for family, fun and fireworks. While I look forward to a holiday with my wife and children, I am also reminded that there are so many people in the world who do not enjoy the liberty and freedoms we enjoy as Americans.

On our nation's first Independence Day, the signators of the Declaration of Independence took enormous personal risk to their lives and families to stand up for freedom and democracy. Today is my first 4th of July since I returned home from Afghanistan.

During my tour of duty, I had the privilege of serving with several Afghan translators. One translator in particular stood out for me. This translator regularly went out on the most dangerous patrols with our U.S. soldiers and took enormous risks to help our mission succeed. As a result, members of his family were targeted and killed by the Taliban, and the ones who survived, were relocated. That Afghan translator took those risks because he believed in America and the cause of freedom for himself and his country.

As Americans, we do not have to come under direct fire from enemy Taliban bent on pursuing evil to enjoy our freedoms. We do not have to endure the hardship of combat to enjoy the privilege of voting. We should also remember, however, that there are numerous people in this world who are ready and willing to assume these burdens just for the opportunity to earn the right to call themselves free.

We live in an amazing nation. On this Independence Day, let's resolve to never take our privileges as Americans -- life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- for granted.

Aloha,

Charles K. Djou

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