On July 4th we will celebrate the 245th anniversary of this Republic founded by these immortal words — “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Although signed by John Hancock on July 4th, 1776, they still ring true today as they did over 200 years ago.

Like any great nation we are certainly not without our flaws and like any large family we have things buried in our past that we would rather remain hidden — slavery, our inequality in the treatment of immigrants, as well as the first inhabitants of the United States the American Indian to name a few. It was only until recently that I was made aware of the ugly race massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where death estimates range from 75 to 300 and both blacks and whites were killed in May and June of 1921.

But in spite of these ugly injustices in our past history we should strive not to cover these events up but rather to learn from them and continue to build upon the foundation of this great nation laid by our Founding Fathers. They like us were not perfect but had a vision and charged us to continue to build upon that solid foundation blessed by providence and laid over 200 years ago.

It is no secret that in the current “social revolution” many in America want to tear down both the physical and historical vestiges of the past in an effort to remake the United States in their own utopian image. Unfortunately, history has taught us despite the best of intentions that utopias never work - the ruins of such naïve experiments such as the former Soviet Union and Communist China are littered with the innocent lives of the many.

Our nations motto “E pluribus Unum” Latin for “Out of Many, One” which is emblazed on the Great Seal of the United States, originates from the concept that out of the union of the original 13 colonies emerged a new single nation. This same concept is as true today as was in 1776 – though composed of many cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds we are truly a nation of one.

Since that fateful day in 1775 at Lexington and Concord when the first blood of the Republic was shed by the Minutemen, over 500,000 Americans have died to preserve the freedom we enjoy today. In spite of our flaws and at time sordid past, July 4th is a day to celebrate the birthday of a nation that continues to serve as the beacon for the free world and provides hope to millions of those who look to us to fight tyranny and oppression.

Happy Birthday America!

James R. Poplar III, of Quicksburg, proudly served with the U.S. government for over 40 years. He specialized in national security affairs at both Vanderbilt and the National Defense University.