July Fourth a time to reflect on freedoms

“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.”

Ratified on July 4, 1776, by the Second Continental Congress, these words laid the foundation of our Declaration of Independence and set us apart from every known empire, colony, or nation ever before. The key difference in the American Experiment is that for the first time in human history, our founders understood that our rights originated from God not Government.

When the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence affixed their name to the document, they recognized that regardless of background, everyone had equal value in the eyes of God. The concept that “all men are created equal” paved the way for future corrections of injustice, including the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement.

America provides the opportunity that regardless of what family you were born into or what neighborhood you grew up in, you have an opportunity to achieve success and pursue happiness. You’re free to start a business, run for elected office, or speak out on a controversial political issue.

To me, those words have a very personal meaning. They mean that the youngest child of a man that was raised in a Methodist Children’s Home in Winston Salem could grow up, go to college, raise a family, serve in the ministry, and become the Republican nominee for Congress in the 9th District of North Carolina.

As you celebrate our Independence on July Fourth, I hope you’ll take time to reflect on what those words meant for you. Let’s strive together to preserve the America we know and love to afford our children and grandchildren the same opportunity we’ve enjoyed.

Mark Harris, a Republican, is a candidate for the 9th District seat in the U.S. House in the Nov. 6 General Election.