“Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” — George Washington.

What better time to refer to President Washington’s famous quotation than on Independence Day — Fourth of July — America’s birthday celebration. U.S. citizens across this great country of ours, no matter their color or creed, will pause this Thursday to observe America’s birthday. The anniversary cake is getting larger and larger — 244 candles make up this year’s centerpiece — but the pride and joy millions of Americans hold on this observance day is a tribute to her greatness.

Oh, there are problems that some will perceive to be insurmountable, but history tells us Americans have overcome any obstacle placed in their pathway — wars, violence, poverty, disease, destruction and an assortment of widespread calamitous outbreaks of unimaginable proportions.

We find it fitting to connect our country’s birthday celebration with the 100-year anniversary of the American Legion. We appreciate that scores of other organizations, from places of worship to the classrooms of education, from union halls to civic institutions, and from political ideology to a wide range of establishments, but the American Legion membership is comprised of people who have been enrolled in all of the above. 

The men and women at American Legion Posts across the country — from the crowded assembly halls of metropolitan cities to the scant rosters in rural communities — are tipping glasses of champagne in honor of what they do and a salute to those who came before them. The list of contributions in post history records is an incredible documentation of service to veterans, their families, education, recreation and a host of other acts of public service. They are the patriotic leaders in our communities, the ones who stand up and protect the American flag, the symbol of freedom and liberty.

As the rockets red glare and the bombs burst in air, let us all come together to honor America on her birthday, and let us salute the American Legion on its 100-year anniversary and express our gratitude for the work it has done in communities across our precious land.