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Happy Independence Day! On this day, 239 years ago, the leaders of the 13 colonies decided to sign the Declaration of Independence and become the United States of America, effectively ending their relationship as one of the colonies of the then British Empire. Today is a day filled with parades, pageants, contests, and barbecues, just as the second president of the U.S., John Adams, wanted it to be, but this day is way more important than just a sunny summer vacation day. This day marks the end of years of struggle being the “lackey” of a far away empire, this day marks a moment when a group of men running colonies decided to become one united nation. Now, I know that this nation has not been perfect, and that through the years many mistakes have been made, but I can honestly say there are things that I can do here that I just couldn’t do in other parts of the world. America is truly a great nation and I hope it continues to be a refuge for freedom and liberty. Happy fourth of July everybody!