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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

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July 4th, 2013
05:21 PM ET

On this Fourth of July, 'The Lead' salutes American heroes

Two hundred and thirty-seven years ago today, the continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence.

Perhaps most famously declaring, "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."

Lesser known is the last sentence in that document, "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

There really are not that many of us who actually walk that walk, who truly pledge our lives and our sacred honor for this country, and for what it endeavors to represent – not just independence from Great Britain and King George III, but from the old order.

And yet every day we hear of those who do pledge their lives.

Two days ago in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Army Specialist Hilda Clayton of Augusta, Georgia, was killed. The married 22-year-old was the most recent soldier in a long line of tens of thousands to die serving this country and what it endeavors to represent - namely liberty and freedom.

No less heroic, no less pledging their lives, are those 19 elite firefighters who perished on Sunday in Arizona.

And the Hood County Texas sheriff's deputy who died a day before while answering a disturbance call.

And so many more.

As we honor and thank our Founding Fathers today – the 56 signatories on the declaration, and more – we here at "The Lead" also want to thank all of those who continue to uphold that sacred pledge, who enable us to live in this amazing country where we exercise those "certain unalienable rights."

Happy Fourth of July.

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