WASHINGTON — Today, we celebrate our nation’s independence — the great American experiment in Democracy that began in 1776 when our Founding Fathers adopted the principles penned in the Declaration of Independence. Those principles — justice, equality, and hope — became the bedrock of our democracy, a road map for America and the foundation for a new way of governing.

But we still have far to go to ensure these principles are a reality for all Americans. During these challenging times, we must seek freedom and justice for each and every American.

True equality is long past due, and we must deliver not just in platitudes, but in actual action. Just like our Founding Fathers did. They didn’t just talk about it, they actually started a democracy. Well, our job right now — our moment in history — is to make sure our democracy works.

In the midst of this pandemic, we are faced with new challenges and we must meet them with extraordinary leadership. We see ordinary people doing extraordinary things all the time: serving on the front lines in our nation’s hospitals, transporting critical supplies, working in the grocery stores, delivering our mail, working every single day protecting our communities.

This Fourth of July, even if we can’t celebrate with our friends and families just like we’re used to at big events, we should remember that our principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are as strong as ever — combined with our desire to create a more perfect union. We never said the union was perfect, we said it was our job to make it more perfect. That means more fairness, that means respecting our fellow citizens, that means being open to reform, and being open to people from all walks of life and all races and creeds. That also means making sure we take care of each other through this pandemic.

So yes, let’s celebrate our nation’s independence, and let’s also thank those who have served and sacrificed, but who are serving now — yes overseas and in our military, but also serving us in those hard jobs on the front lines.

Thank you. Thank you to all of you. Have a happy, safe, and memorable Fourth of July.