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Sen. Tim Scott: Fourth of July challenges – as in times past we will unite, progress and hope, always

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Sen. Tim Scott: US can't tear down history for the sake of anarchyVideo

Sen. Tim Scott: US can't tear down history for the sake of anarchy

Independence Day is a day familiar to us all. The streets are dressed in red, white and blue, and the sky serves as a canvas for an endless night of fireworks. We enjoy parades and time with loved ones – all while saluting our nation and our freedoms.

As we celebrate America’s 244th year as an independent nation, however, the face of our country looks different.

This year, we paused at the sound of an alarming pandemic that was sweeping the world. This pause gave a spotlight to injustices that our American brothers and sisters have been facing for generations.

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America was founded on the principles of liberty and justice for all, yet for too many, these have seemed like lofty ideals rather than daily realities. As we grieve with those who are hurting –whether from the effects of injustice or this deadly virus – we have a unique opportunity to stop and reflect on the history of our nation and the path forward.

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Four hundred years ago, a group of people seeking freedom set out for the New World; their hope was religious freedom. This voyage would later lead to the birth of the most powerful nation on Earth, the United States of America.

To obtain the freedom that they desired and that we enjoy now as Americans, there would be bloodshed, both domestically and internationally. More than 200,000 men and women served during the Revolutionary War in pursuit of liberty and justice. Since then, hundreds of thousands of our brave service members – and courageous citizens like Medgar Evers – have paid the ultimate price to ensure that we retain those core tenets of our beloved democracy.

Many things have threatened to destroy our nation and the principles for which it stands. The Civil War. Jim Crow. The attack on Pearl Harbor, “a date which will live in infamy.” 9/11.

Our nation is one of resiliency, and on this Fourth of July, I encourage all Americans to have hope – to reflect on how far we have come as a nation and to believe that we will continue moving forward together.

Tim Scott is a U.S. senator from South Carolina. He’s also the author of the new book, " Opportunity Knocks: How Hard Work, Community, and Business Can Improve Lives and End Poverty."