"Just days before the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress in 1776, founding father John Adams declared in a letter to his wife Abigail that this day would be 'the most memorable epoch in the history of America' and that it ought to be commemorated with 'pomp and parade...from one end of this continent to the other forever more.' The accuracy of Adams' prediction of how Americans, generations later, mark the anniversary of our nation's birth isn't the remarkable thing. What is truly astounding is the durability of the ideals we celebrate with such passion and fanfare.
"At a time when so many of our young men and women are fighting and dying in foreign wars in service to their country, it's fitting to ponder the gift the Founders bestowed not just on the citizens of a fledgling nation, but on all people who have yearned for freedom and recognition of their inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Let us never forget, however, that the Founders' gift was not the guarantee of these rights; but the affirmation of them.
"On July 4, 1776, a standard was set for the democratic governance of a free people. The history of the United States has been one valiant push after another to meet that lofty standard. On July 4, 2010, we can feel justly proud of how far we've come as we redouble our commitment to compete the journey. Today, as we celebrate the birth of our nation, let us renew our faith in our founding values as we meet challenges to liberty both here and abroad.
"On behalf of Michelle and the entire Paterson family, I wish all New Yorkers a safe and happy Fourth of July!"