Mr. Speaker, July 4, 1776, Philadelphia, 56 misfits, rebels, and freedom fighters all filled a small room with the intent to form a new nation. They pledged their lives, their honor, and their futures on one simple idea: that all people are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among those are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

As these ideas were put forth on paper, it was clear to the Founders that governments are instituted among men to preserve those rights. In that hot room, these 56 men put together the first foundation of our government, declaring independence from King George III. From July 4, 1776, forward, the term “independence'' has defined America.

After 7 long, grueling years of war, America gained that independence. So Tuesday, as Americans across the Nation watch parades packed with patriotic red, white, and blue and families gather for picnics, hot dogs, barbecue, and fireworks, all small towns and big towns throughout the country will remember and pay tribute to our Founders who instilled those three principles in our government: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The Stars and Stripes are forever. Happy birthday, America. Happy Fourth of July.