RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Declaration of Independence was adopted nearly 250 years ago on July 4 of 1776, and we continue to celebrate this day as the beginning of freedom from British rule. A lot has changed since then, but some things just never did.
“America has been in a lot of conflicts, wars, battles since the Revolutionary War. We’ve had to change how we do things with the advancements of technology and just adapting to the everyday environment and the different cultures that we go into every day,” Sergeant First Class Paul Hoffman explains. “But there’s one thing that has not changed and that’s what we fight for. What we fight for is to serve, protect and preserve those freedoms and what every American shouldn’t take for granted and what we we celebrate on Independence Day.”
Sergeant First Class Hoffman says his deployments give him extra appreciation for American Independence.
“I’ve been to several different countries throughout the world and knowing that they don’t have those same freedoms or those rights that we do here just really, really makes me understand and have more knowledge about what it’s about and know the importance of it. And that’s why we love to celebrate Independence Day, because we have those rights and those freedoms,” he adds.
Although South Dakota wasn’t one of the original American colonies, the holiday offers an opportunity for all Americans to reflect on the sacrifices that lean to their freedoms.
“It’s time for families to get together, and I hope among all of the celebrating, we can remember exactly what it is, what we’re celebrating, and that is our freedom and all of the rights and amenities we have here in the U.S.,” says Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender.
Many Americans never returned home to the American freedoms they defended, and some are missing the family barbecues and fireworks to continue to serve the country.
“Independence Day is a good day to… remember and to thank everyone in the armed services and the veterans and first responders who continue to protect us every day. So you can wave at them, you can honk at them, you can show them your appreciation when you see them because it’s their day. It’s a day when we honor what they have helped America accomplish,” Mayor Allender adds.
As the country continues to change and grow, July 4 stands as a reminder of where we started.
“Independence Day is all about our freedoms and our rights as a country. Everything that we’ve done to establish those rights and to remember that all those people who built this great country, in this great nation far before us. And it just reminds us of those great rights that we do have. And it should remind us all, as Americans, that we shouldn’t take those freedoms and rights for granted,” Sergeant First Class Hoffman concludes.