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I am delighted to join my fellow Americans across the nation and around the world in celebrating Independence Day.
Today we gather with family and friends to commemorate the 223rd anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In marking this historic event, and in remembering the courage and sacrifice of the patriots and soldiers who fought and died that we might shape our own destiny, we are truly celebrating the birth of our great country.
Every generation of Americans owes a profound debt of gratitude to our Founders for envisioning a nation that, as President Lincoln so eloquently put it, was "conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." Inspired by this same vision, we have built together a society in which freedom and democracy do more than enlighten our laws and political institutions -- they permeate our culture and way of life. We have only to look at the recent tragic events in Kosovo to recognize how blessed we are to live in a land where life, liberty, and equality are cherished rights, upheld by courts and custom, and where, as we realize more each day, our diversity is a source of strength rather than a cause for division.
On this day, as we look back with pride on our heritage of freedom, let us look forward as well with renewed hope for the future. Enjoying the fruits of a robust economy, the stability of a country at peace, and the talents and energy of an increasingly diverse populace, America is poised to lead the world into a new millennium full of fresh opportunities and challenges.
Hillary joins me in sending best wishes to all for a wonderful Fourth of July.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON