Independence Day is right around the corner and I think it is important to take a second and think about what that day truly represents. This year marks 241 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which ultimately gave birth to a new sovereign nation that we know as the United States of America, and better yet, the “Land of the Free”. The Declaration stated unequivocally: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

The world, as we know it, is full of uncertainty, whether it be from political tensions, conflicts with other nations, climate change or other issues that exist around us, but the one thing that has never changed in my lifetime or generations before me is the freedom we maintain thanks to the courageous actions of our forefathers as well as the men and women who have paid for that freedom with tremendous sacrifice.

Everyone on this base is sacrificing daily for the freedom of millions of people back home. We sacrifice by being away from our friends and families, we sacrifice by answering the call to deploy down range, and we sacrifice by working long, tiring hours to ensure our mission gets done. For all of those uncertainties I mentioned before, we as a Wing, as a military and as Americans cannot afford to falter, and we will not fail. Our continued freedom depends on it.

So this year we are going to recognize what Independence Day stands for with our Celebrate America event, which will be held on June 30th at the Samurai Training Grounds. I understand that traditionally Americans celebrate Independence Day on July 4th, but by holding this celebration on a Friday, instead of a Tuesday, it allows us the ability to get some people out of the office a little early to meet up with families and friends and check out the festivities and then put on an incredible fireworks display that night. I can’t think of a better way to kick-off a weekend. At the end of the day, I don’t think the actual day we celebrate is as important as the way we celebrate and being able to get as many people involved as possible. And trust me, our FSS professionals along with a bunch of other agencies on base are working hard to make sure that our Airmen and their families have a great time.

I encourage everyone to come out to Celebrate America, but if you cannot make it I encourage you to find the time to celebrate in your own way in remembrance of those who gave us our Declaration of Independence, which remains a beacon of liberty, the upholder of our divine unalienable rights, and the guardian of our independence.

Finally, I want to say thank you to all of the men and women of Team Yokota for everything you do to uphold our freedom.

-Col Kenneth Moss, 374th Airlift Wing Commander