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Two hundred and thirty-nine years ago, a group of very brave Americans came out with the rough draft of the best idea for human organization in the history of the world—a homeland in which the government would not be run by a monarch, but by the consent of the people.

On Saturday, July 4, we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and for most of us, this means picnics, hanging out with friends and watching fireworks.

It is overwhelming to think about the sacrifices so many men and women made so that we all can stand on this land today in freedom. There are statistics about the signers’ sacrifices—being captured and tortured, losing sons or their own lives in the war, and losing their homes and possessions.  Few of us have experienced such sacrifice―especially for the concept of freedom for a new country.

It makes you wonder about the people who made such sacrifices, and what motivated them to do so. Not only did the signers suffer for their actions, but also, so did thousands of revolutionaries who stood for freedom at a great cost to their own lives.  Some were simply rebellious types who needed a cause, some were fleeing actual persecution and understood the need for freedom, and some were people of vision who could see a future country where one did not exist.

We should be grateful to live in such a great country with tremendous opportunity and much more fairness than is afforded some in other countries.  Thousands of Americans will spend this fourth of July far from home—some in harm’s way―vigilantly defending our ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.   As we all know, freedom is not free and it is because of the sacrifices of these brave men and women fighting for our freedoms and for those wanting to be free.

So, when we head out to our celebrations with the ability to talk about any subject that comes to mind―we will do so with absolutely no fear of any harm to us.

It is easy to take liberty for granted, especially when you have never had it taken from you.  Let us all be reminded of the sacrifices made by others before us and pray for the safe return of those serving who continue to defend our way of life through their service and commitment, and far too often, through the ultimate sacrifice.

Wishing all of you a safe and happy Fourth of July!

If you are a Benton REA member, then you are also an owner of the electric cooperative and we welcome you to your web site.

As an electric cooperative, Benton REA operates on a not-for-profit basis and each member has a vote in how we do business.

There are more than 75 million people in the United States of America who are members of cooperatives. Cooperatives encourage people to help themselves by following seven cooperative principles. It’s the way we have been serving our members since 1937. It’s The Cooperative Way!

Below is a short video produced by National Rural Electric Cooperative Association to explain more about what makes electric cooperatives unique.

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