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I don’t know about you, but I love fireworks. The beautiful colors exploding in the air, lighting up the night sky, then showering down over me. I love hearing the “ooohs” and “ahhhs” of the people around me. When we celebrate on the 4th of July, and I see those colors in the sky, I’m reminded of the wars fought and the sacrifices made by so many men and women who have served our country, and I’m humbled.

A while back, I told you about my experience as an exchange student visiting communist East Germany (Throwback Thursday: How East Germany Shaped Me). I had never truly grasped what freedom meant until I met a family in East Berlin: They had no freedom of religion, no freedom of speech, no freedom of assembly, no freedom from false imprisonment, no right to keep and bear arms, nor any of the many other freedoms guaranteed to me as an American by our Constitution.

I get emotional when I visit places like Normandy, Arlington Cemetery, and Gettysburg. The freedoms that we enjoy as American weren’t free: they’ve been paid for by the lives and blood of our brave service members for over 200 years.

We have a sacred obligation to honor those sacrifices by fighting for those same freedoms at home – to ensure that our state and our country continue to be a land of the free and home of the brave. If you let me, I will fight for you in St. Paul, to ensure that we maintain and enjoy our freedoms, by being able to choose our own healthcare plan through a free market approach, by lowering taxes, and by creating a state where businesses can grow and jobs are created.

When you see the rockets’ red glare, and hear the sound of bombs bursting in air, remember the sacrifices made that allow you to enjoy it.

Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July.

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