On Monday, we as Americans will celebrate our country's independence.
The day can often lose its real meaning of celebration to the parades, bar-b-ques, stifling heat and fireworks. But let us not forget where we started and where we still have yet to go as a nation.
July Fourth marks the anniversary of the U.S. adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 in which we announced our freedom from the British Empire, with which the 13 American colonies had been at war.
And today, war is still something that is all too familiar to our nation as our president announces a drawdown timetable in Afghanistan and engaging in Libyan conflicts.
Budget battles reign over Congress' agendas, and talks of raising the debt ceiling show partisan politics in Washington again.
Some issues show cause for celebration, like New York's passage of the same sex marriage bill.
Whatever issues face this great nation now or in the future, it is important to remember how we started - by revolutionizing against Britain, prompting the Continental Congress to adopt the Declaration of Independence.
So as you watch fireworks Monday or set off sparklers, reflect upon the real reason for the Fourth of July.