Remembering heroes on the 4th

State Rep. John Sims Jr.

As we celebrate the Fourth of July this week, it’s worth remembering the words spoken by a young Teddy Roosevelt on this holiday in 1886, nearly 15 years before he would become president.

“It is not what we have that will make us a great nation,” he said. “It is the way in which we use it.”

We have faced numerous challenges in the nearly 250 years since we first declared our independence, but I believe strongly that we have upheld the democratic ideals our Founding Fathers set so long ago.

Overall, about one in 10 Kentucky adults is a veteran, and Fort Knox and Fort Campbell play outsized roles when it comes to protecting our country, as do the Kentucky National Guard and those serving in the Reserves.

There are local heroes to recognize, as well. Franklin R. Sousley of Fleming County, for example, was famous for helping to raise our country’s flag in Iwo Jima. That iconic photo of him and other Marines became one of World War II’s most enduring images.

Meanwhile, Colonel Charles Young, a Mason County native, was another pioneer as the first African American to reach the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army.

Those serving in the military may be first but they are far from the only groups of people who have made our country what it is today. We also owe a tremendous amount to the first responders who protect us here at home, and to those people and organizations that strive to make life better in ways large and small. Those include our churches, our charities, our schools, and all others who selflessly donate their time and talents.

All of them do so much, and they deserve our gratitude. With them in mind, I hope you have a wonderful Fourth of July.

State Rep. John Sims Jr.