Mr. Speaker, as we are approaching the 4th of July, it was 230 years ago, this signing of the Declaration of Independence.

But it wasn't until after the War of 1812 this holiday became more meaningful to Americans. It was after our young Nation had to whip the British a second time and yet again fight for our Nation's freedom. That is when Americans recognized why we should remain and remember our Nation, our struggle, and all we stand for.

On the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, the author of the document, was asked to speak at a celebration about it. He was lying on his deathbed, so he answered the call with this note:

May it, the Declaration of Independence, be to the world, what I believe it will be. The signal of arousing men to burst the chains and assume the blessings and security of self-government.

For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these basic rights, and an undiminished devotion to all of them.

Mr. Speaker, today I present to you a portrait of the devotion of a person to that Declaration of Independence. His name was Staff Sergeant Benjamin DeWayne Williams, United States Marine. I have here a photograph of him in his combat attire in Iraq. This was the way he looked shortly before he was killed. He was a true patriot.

He was from Orange, Texas, and on his third and last deployment. He was set to return home on August 15. He had plans to surprise his mother. But before that could happen, he was killed on June 20 fighting the enemy forces in Al Anbar, Iraq.

Ben Williams was 30 years of age. His friends said he loved being a Marine. He went to Little Cypress Mauriceville High School and played football, and as soon as he graduated from high school, he joined the United States Marine Corps.

He was a staff sergeant in the Marines and an infantry unit leader assigned to the First Battalion, First Marine Regiment, First Marine Division of the First Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, California. Ben's grandmother Carson Williams called him ``Bubba'' and said, ``Bubba died doing what he loved to do, and that was being a soldier.''

His sacrifice gives true meaning to the Vietnam era phrase ``All gave some ..... Some gave all.''

Mr. Speaker, President Ronald Reagan was correct when he said that ``Men cry `peace, peace,' but there can be no peace as long as there is some American somewhere dying for the rest of us.''

Sergeant Williams was one of those Americans. He gave all, dying for the rest of us. It was his devotion that thrust him into battle with his eyes wide open. He knew that there was a chance he wouldn't come home. He told his sister that he was fighting for her so that she could enjoy freedom. His level of devotion meant giving himself after giving his all. His life is the cost of freedom, a freedom and an expense that he embraced proudly.

Every member of the military we remember here on the House floor is described in those remarks as someone who loved his country, a soldier to the bone who believed in what they were doing. And that is tracking terrorists and ripping those terrorists from their roots so people around the world would know the blessings of liberty and the security of self-government that Thomas Jefferson wrote about in the Declaration of Independence.

We call ourselves patriots, but few of us have the scars to prove it. Few have the courage to face and embrace the darkest unknown, the possibility of not going home.

These few, these volunteers, are a rich testament to the courage they have in their hearts. Now and always we must remember their sacrifice, our men and women who fight, so we can look in the blue skies of liberty and remember them with the flying of every star and every stripe.

So this 4th of July, we remember all of those who served, all of them that gave some and those that gave all.

So Semper Fi, Ben Williams. Semper Fi.

And that's just the way it is.