This Fourth of July, Americans should reflect on the nation’s foundational principles and values, while realizing that freedom comes at a high price, said the U.S. Archbishop for the Military Services. “The Nation’s birthday beckons our rededication to what makes us a great country while reminding us we are indeed ‘one nation under God’,” reflected Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio. “Independence Day is an occasion for picnics and parades, family fun and fireworks, but we must never forget that Freedom comes at a high price,” he said in a statement preceding July 4. The archbishop reminded the nation that the “price” of continued freedom is the blood and sweat of the men and women serving in the U.S. military. He praised “the selfless dedication and sacrifice of the many Americans serving our Nation in uniform, past and present.” The U.S. has military personnel serving abroad in nearly 130 countries. The U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services — headed by Archbishop Broglio — serves more than 220 military installations in 29 countries, as well as 134 Veterans Affairs medical centers and other federal employees serving abroad. Reflecting on the founding of the United States more than 200 years ago, Archbishop Broglio said that the decision to “cut ties with Great Britain and set out on a new course” was a bold choice that “continues to bear fruit in our times.” “None of the founding Fathers knew where their decision would lead, but they did recognize the importance of working together to build a new kind of nation — a nation founded on principles and centered around the essence of what it means to be human, created in the image of Almighty God with inalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” The archbishop implored Americans to be “vigilant” in protecting our “way of life” against the “forces of evil.” “Preserving our way of life demands vigilance, valor, respect for conscience and victory over the forces of evil that would otherwise vanquish the values we hold dear,” he said. “We must always recognize our debt to these brave men and women whose commitment and courage keep us free.” July 4 also marks the conclusion of the third Fortnight for Freedom, hosted by the U.S. bishops to raise awareness and encourage prayer about threats to religious freedom both at home and abroad. A concluding Mass for the fortnight will take place at noon at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. The Mass will be celebrated by Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, with a homily delivered by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
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