By Jesse White
Illinois Secretary of State
The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays for many reasons – getting together with family and friends and eating good food are a few of them. But the main reason I love the Fourth of July is what it symbolizes: the birth of the greatest nation on earth populated by patriotic citizens of differing ethnic backgrounds, political persuasions and geographic locations.
This Fourth of July we celebrate the 246th birthday of the United States of America, a nation that serves as the beacon of the free world because of its ideals and its people. I encourage everyone to take a moment this holiday to give thanks for this great nation, and those that were willing to die so that it – and we – could remain free.
As a former paratrooper in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division and as a member of the Illinois National Guard and Reserve, I admire and cherish the sacrifice, bravery and heroism that our men and women in the armed forces display each and every day whether at home or in hostile environments. The Fourth of July holiday and the many unfurled American flags proudly displayed throughout our neighborhoods represent the selfless sacrifices of these true heroes.
As I give thanks, I find myself reflecting on my tenure as your Secretary of State. This year is my 24th and final year as Illinois Secretary of State. I am filled with gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to serve the people of Illinois for six terms in this capacity. It has been the honor of a lifetime.
Along with being thankful, I am also hopeful – hopeful that we as Americans will find a way to be more charitable toward one another when we disagree on political issues. Perhaps we can learn to appreciate one another if we would listen more and talk less.
My ardent hope is that everyone has a safe and wonderful Fourth of July as we give thanks for this nation, that we appreciate each other for our differences and that we never forget those departed who helped shape the United States of America so that it would be, as President Abraham Lincoln famously resolved at Gettysburg, “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”