Forefathers guiding principles remain in Airmen today Published July 1, 2015 By Col. Shawn R. Burrus 157th Air Refueling Wing PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. -- This Saturday we celebrate our nation's independence. You may attend a parade, barbeque with family and friends, spend time enjoying the outdoors and /or end the day with fireworks. While doing so, I encourage you to take a moment during your festivities and remember our deployed Airmen around the world supporting and sustaining the very freedoms we all enjoy. Please honor their sacrifices in defending the freedom this nation's forefathers fought hard to secure so that we might live in a free and democratic society. In signing the Declaration of Independence, our forefathers literally put their lives on the line. Benjamin Franklin reportedly cautioned, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." All those present signed, pledging "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor" to an uncertain fate. Our world today is far more complex, but the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- principles endorsed by those first American patriots -- have endured and will continue to sustain us as an Air Force, Air National Guard and as a nation through uncertain and challenging times. As you take time off this weekend, please be careful out there as you enjoy activities, particularly regarding fireworks. Despite several local communities offering free fireworks displays to area residents, many prefer to purchase their own and light them off in unsafe areas. Be a good wingman and don't let anyone expose your friends and family to risk that you haven't assessed and accepted. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 8,600 firework related injuries are treated each year. Last year alone, the CPSC estimates that there were nearly 7,000 firework related injuries during the Fourth of July season. As we celebrate this Independence Day, every member of the 157th Air Refueling Wing can be proud of what we collectively accomplish to ensure those founding fathers' principles endure; by executing our mission of preserving, protecting and serving the United States at home and abroad. On behalf of the 157th Air Refueling Wing leadership team, thank you for what you do each and every day. Have a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday weekend!