|WASHINGTON, July 2, 2009 – In his annual Independence Day message to members of the U.S. armed forces worldwide, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff evokes a speech Abraham Lincoln delivered in Chicago in 1858.|
Here is Navy Adm. Mike Mullen's holiday message:
“The Fourth of July in America perpetually binds us to the birth of our Nation – and the spirit of a revolution.
“Eighty-two years after Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence, another future President, Abraham Lincoln, eloquently defined the Fourth as an annual celebration of his listeners' enduring connection with their previous, heroic generation. But, he added, ‘There is something else.'
“Lincoln then turned the Chicago crowd's attention toward the millions drawn to and born in America since the Declaration was signed, and their critical bond to its timeless truths.
“When they first read its words, and ‘realize they are our equals in all things,' Lincoln said, ‘they feel [it] is the father of all moral principle in them. ... That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together ... as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.'
“Today, that same electric cord links us to those truths which, while self-evident, have never been self-endowed. They are forever worth our defending – in days of peace, and, as now, in times of war.
“More than 240,000 men and women deployed in harm's way are defending our rights, and those of mankind, this very minute. They, and especially their families, know this: as long as our Nation continues to raise sons and daughters to sacrifice their individual cares for the greater good of all, the revolutionary spirit of Jefferson, Lincoln, and our Republic lives on.
"Happy Birthday, America."
Admiral, U.S. Navy