On Independence Day, we urge Americans to take time not only to celebrate, but also to recognize the responsibilities of citizenship. There's no free ride here.
Americans enjoy relaxing on the Fourth of July, firing up the grill, perhaps visiting a beach or pool, and enjoying fireworks tonight.
But on this day of relaxation and celebration, remember that freedom doesn't come cheap.
We honor those who serve in the military, both now and in the past. Some of them gave their lives for our freedom, and we must never forget that.
But that's not the only way to serve your country. Everyone needs to do his or her part to make this land a better place to live.
That comes through voting, through obeying laws, through volunteering, through letting your elected officials know where you stand on issues that matter most to you.
On this Independence Day and every day, don't just celebrate your right to free speech, but also listen to what others are saying, too, even if you disagree with them.
We have seen dysfunction in Congress, with the Senate and House cancelling each other out instead of collaborating as the Founding Fathers intended. The congressional approval rating is in the basement, at 17 percent, a Gallup poll reported last month.
"Americans' opinions of Congress, measured in a variety of ways, are the worst or among the worst Gallup has measured," Gallup said.
The members of Congress reflect the views of the Americans who elect them, which shows how divided the nation is now.
Today, of all days, we should remember the strength that comes from uniting, rather than dividing, our fellow countrymen.
It's not just about independence, but also about interdependence with other Americans -- including people who might not look or think like you.
Enjoy your rights, but remember your responsibilities as well.