Birthdays are special days, and America’s birthday is the most special of all!

July 4th reminds us we’re not meant to be divided into red and blue states, but united in red, white and blue states. It’s a day to feel happy and proud together – wearing our hearts on our sleeves and our nation’s colors, singing America’s songs, and enjoying hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream! And, it’s a day that ends magically with friends and families enjoying fireworks displays as they light up the skies.

This year, with the 4th falling on Wednesday, we have only a brief time to enjoy the traditions and reflect on the meaning of our nation’s birthday. Yet, in this moment we can appreciate that our first principles – independence, liberty and equality – are as meaningful for us as they were for the first Americans, when they courageously adopted the Declaration of Independence 242 years ago.

To this day, it’s a document that remains revolutionary, proclaiming every American is born free, endowed with God-given rights to climb to our highest potential, and to bring our values and beliefs to the ongoing task of making our country better.

The promise and power of the Declaration will forever remain relevant, and its bold words speak to us in Connecticut today. I believe they’re telling us to never give up, never stop believing in the ability of free people to overcome challenges, and to create better lives for yourselves and your loved ones.

We can draw inspiration from our patriots – people with different views who joined together to pursue a great purpose, bringing invincible spirit to triumph over the greatest empire of their day. On this holiday, as we watch fireworks light up the skies, let’s also envision the brighter future built by people who are united, resolute and free.

Happy 4th of July, God Bless our service men and women and God Bless America!

Jayme J. Stevenson

First Selectman, Town of Darien

Candidate for Lieutenant Governor