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Celebrating our Independence

Every year on the 4th of July, Americans join together to celebrate our independence. At that time in 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence, breaking free from British rule and forming a new republic.


In South Dakota, every town has their own celebration to mark this historic day. In Fort Pierre, where Jean and I live, there is a parade in the morning and a rodeo at night, followed by a spectacular fireworks show over the Missouri River. Across the state, South Dakotans will be enjoying the day with family and friends. Our family’s tradition is to camp and boat at Okobojo Point on Lake Oahe over the 4th of July holiday. This year, we get to introduce our fun tradition to our two new grandsons, Maverick and Cohen!


While the 4th of July is a time of joy and celebration, it also provides a good opportunity to honor the countless men and women who have sacrificed so much to protect our independence over the past 242 years. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our liberties. We are forever grateful to those who wear the uniform of the United States of America, as well as to their families.


The security of our nation is necessary to protect the rights and freedoms we enjoy as Americans. A strong national defense is one of the most fundamental roles of government. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, one of my top priorities is to make sure our military has the best, most up-to-date equipment available so they can successfully defend against attacks from our enemies. And as a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I am working to improve the quality of life for all who have served. I have been working to ease the transition for veterans as they leave active-duty service. This includes making changes at the VA to prioritize mental health care for veterans battling PTSD, as well as making sure they know all the benefits available to them in terms of education and career opportunities. Our veterans are some of the brightest, most talented individuals and our workforce will benefit greatly from the skills and knowledge they bring to the workplace.


As we light off fireworks, spend time with family and friends and enjoy all that our great country has to offer, I encourage South Dakotans to thank the veterans and military members in their lives. We would not be able to celebrate our independence if not for the sacrifices they have made. Jean and I, along with our entire family, wish all South Dakotans a safe, happy Independence Day!