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RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement today in advance of tomorrow’s Independence Day holiday.

“It was a Virginian, Richard Henry Lee, who 237 years ago brought forth a resolution stating ‘Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.’ That resolution led to the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, by Virginia’s second governor, Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration, adopted on July 4, 1776, marks the birth of American freedom, and the timeless principles that continue to govern this great nation: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“Tomorrow, Americans will continue to celebrate our independence with fireworks, parades and picnics. As we celebrate with our family, friends and neighbors, let us also pause to remember our service members who have gone before us while protecting our great nation. And let us also recognize the brave men and women who continue to protect our freedom and liberty, both at home and around the world, and pray for their safe return. May we never forget, freedom is not free.

“Tomorrow, in recognition of our active, reserve and National Guard service members, their families and all veterans living in Virginia, Maureen and I will be attending the first annual ‘Fourth at the Fort’ open house at the Fort Monroe Freedom Support Center. The Freedom Support Center, a Department of Veteran Services program, developed by Maureen and her tremendous team as part of her Serving Our Service Member Families initiative, provides assistance to military members such as one-stop access to benefits and programs and career planning and guidance, and support for families whose service members are deployed. During this event, we will celebrate those who have given so much to protect this nation, and those who are on the front lines of freedom still today, culminating with music and fireworks at the beach hosted by USAA and the Fort Monroe Foundation. I hope active duty and veteran military and their families in the area will join us for this patriotic event in honor of our men and women in uniform: our American heroes.

“I wish all Virginians a happy and safe Fourth of July.”

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