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Placer County Supervisor Jim Holmes’ column

Honoring our independence

By: Placer County Supervisor Jim Holmes
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This is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of our nation. On Independence Day, we pay our respects to the men and women of the Armed Forces who have fought, and continue to fight, for our freedoms. We enjoy a quality of life and abundance of opportunity here in the United States of America that is continually maintained by our veterans and our Armed Forces. For that, we owe them a debt of gratitude that cannot possibly be repaid.

In addition to our brave soldiers, we also owe a debt of gratitude to those who established our great nation for having the foresight to incorporate a separation of powers into the Constitution of the United States of America. Leaders come and go, but since 1787, the stability of our nation has stood upon the separation of government responsibilities as set forth in the first three Articles of the Constitution. The separate powers of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government ensure that no one branch of government will commence exercising the core functions of another.  The intent of the separate branches is to prevent a concentration of power and provide checks and balances within our government.  

The Constitution was built upon the ideals and philosophies in the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, and reflects the priorities and beliefs of many individuals. Informed by the oppressive actions of past rulers, while facing economic struggles and desiring personal freedoms not afforded at the time, many great leaders contributed to the creation of what we now know as the Constitution of the United States. While we are all familiar with the seven men who are typically regarded as our Founding Fathers – George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay – there are many more heroes, men and women, who helped build the foundation of our country.

First Lady Martha Washington was known for her concern for the soldiers she encountered and spearheaded a campaign that enlisted America’s women to provide aid to soldiers. 

Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams, was one of her husband’s most trusted advisors. She was outspoken in her disdain for slavery and her support for women’s issues and education for girls and people of color. Some historians also consider Abigail Adams as one of the founders of the United States.

Another prominent First Lady was Dolley Madison, who was known for her knack for bridging the divide between people with opposing views and priorities, and best known for saving the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington just before British Armed Forces set fire to the White House in 1812. With no time to unfasten the framed painting from the wall, Dolley Madison had the picture frame hacked apart and the painting removed for safe keeping. Today, the painting hangs safely in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.

These are just a few examples of the involvement of women in our history and there are countless others.

We have so much to be grateful for here in the United States and there are so many people from the past and the present, whose courageous acts we should recognize and celebrate: veterans of our Armed Forces, people who have paid the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our nation and the people who had the foresight to put into place a Constitution that would ensure our freedom from oppressive rulers. 

I hope as you celebrate our freedom this Independence Day, you will take a moment to reflect upon our nation’s founders and their wisdom, to whom we owe thanks and gratitude for all that we have now and will continue to have into the future.

Jim Holmes is the Placer County supervisor for District 3, which covers Loomis, North Auburn, Ophir, Newcastle, Penryn and most of Rocklin. To contact Holmes, call (530) 889-4010 or email jholmes@placer.ca.gov.