A Celebration of Freedom

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A Celebration of Freedom

By: Governor Kristi Noem  
July 5, 2024    


The Fourth of July has always been a special day to me. It’s our nation’s birthday, of course. But it’s also the day that my husband, Bryon, proposed.


On July 4th, 1991, I told a group of kiddos that I would haul them and their horses to the local parade. I picked up the kids, helped polish their horses, and led them through the parade route. By the end of the day, I was exhausted.


I wanted to clean up and a enjoy a night at home after my long day. However, Bryon insisted on taking me out to dinner and going on his grandpa’s boat to watch the fireworks.


I was cold and miserable on that boat. The fireworks began, and when I turned around, Bryon was on one knee. “Kristi, will you marry me?” he asked.


I was shocked and responded with the first thing that came to mind: “Did…you ask my dad?”


That day was certainly a day of celebration for Bryon and me! And the Fourth of July is a day for all Americans to celebrate. It’s a day that epitomizes Freedom and unity.


Nearly 250 years ago, our Founding Fathers took unprecedented action to declare independence from unwarranted British authority and a tyrannical king. They took on the strongest military in the world with nothing but personal muskets and rifles. And they gave us the greatest gift in human history – a Republic where the people rule.


Just as our forefathers worked tirelessly to create a better future, we too must continue to strive for liberty and uphold the values that make South Dakota and America great. On July 1st, several bills that I prioritized for the people of South Dakota this past legislative session finally became law!


One of these laws is crucial to protecting our state’s precious ag land. Agriculture is the backbone of South Dakota's economy, but evil foreign governments are attempting to control land across our nation. But not in South Dakota – not on my watch. By safeguarding our land, we are preserving our heritage and securing our future.


I further recognize that our Freedom extends to all Americans. So, I signed a bill that clearly defines antisemitism and helps ensure the safety of Jewish people in our state. Antisemitism has no place in South Dakota, and this law sends a clear message that we stand united against antisemitic hate.


I am also proud of the efforts we have made to give individuals with criminal histories a second chance. It is crucial to provide individuals with the opportunity to rebuild their lives and support their families after serving their sentences.  People who are ready to reenter society will now be able to provide for their families and add value to our workforce.


Finally, our kids are the future. And our teachers are the ones we trust to help them achieve that future. We ensured that our teachers will receive adequate pay for the important work they do. We are empowering educators to inspire the next generation of citizens with the ideals of democracy and independence.


As we celebrate our nation’s birthday this Fourth of July, let us remember what America was founded on – Freedom. This session's legislative successes are a testament to our commitment to making South Dakota a model for Freedom.


Freedom is something we cannot take for granted. It’s something we must fight to uphold. As Ben Franklin famously said after signing the Declaration of Independence on that fateful 4th of July almost 250 years ago, “We must all hang together, or, most assuredly, we will all hang separately.”


Let us, like our Founding Fathers, work together to secure a future for the next generation. Happy Fourth of July, South Dakota! God bless you all, and God bless the United States of America.