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Framed and resting on my office window ledge are copies of my parents’ Naturalization Certificates.  Dated January 17, 1956, they received them just over six years after they emigrated from Poland and a little over two years after I was born.  They did it right, found sponsors, (thank you the Simon family of Donaldson, Louisiana), found a job cutting sugar cane to earn enough money to make it to Chicago and join the Polish community there.

  

It was a five-year process for them and a test was required.  Mom and Dad had to demonstrate they could speak, read and write the English language along with a civics test involving the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. More of a test than children take today.  

  

One thing my father always reminded me of was when he learned about The Declaration and how it 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, and believe me, my parents exercised those rights!  

  

The Declaration of Independence will remain for future generations of Americans the beacon of liberty, the upholder of our divine unalienable rights, the guardian of our independence. This Independence Day please pay attention to its words which must be written in the hearts and minds of our children and all citizens, so that we never forget the price paid for our freedom … and the reasons why freedom is worth paying the price.   

  

True freedom is accepting and believing that you and you alone must be responsible for your life. This is how you take back control. This is how you reach your dreams. This is the spirit and foundation on which this great country was built.

  

This is what my father said about how he celebrated the 4th of July;  

  

“I resolve again that I will not depend on, wait on, or hope for luck, publishers clearing house, the company, fate, or the government to help me change my life?  Once again, I will take responsibility for my own life. I will set my own course. I will make my own success. I will protect my family. I will take action. I will persist. I will learn from my mistakes. I will look forward not backward. I will turn haters into motivators. I will be empowered, and I will empower my children. I can achieve whatever I want, and nothing will hold me back. I own my future. This is my Independence Day!”