This Fourth of July represented several major milestones in the birth of our republic and for the state of Maryland.

Two hundred and thirty-seven years ago, our founding fathers declared our independence from England and the “great American experiment” was born. We would be challenged again with the War of 1812 and the Civil War; the latter’s Battle of Gettysburg took place 150 years ago this week. As one of the original thirteen colonies, Maryland was a participant in all these milestones, the most significant being the birth of the Star-Spangled Banner at Fort McHenry. It seems our republic has had to withstand significant challenges throughout its history. Somehow it has always managed to prevail and, in most cases, emerge stronger than before. We certainly saw this after 9/11 and again with the Boston Marathon bombing.

Which brings me to my Fourth of July Reflections about our country and its future, inspired by a Time magazine article titled, “The New Patriotism,” by Richard Stengel, in which he writes:

“What we need going forward is third-way patriotism, a new patriotism that blends the faith of our fathers with, as Lincoln said, the unfinished work remaining before us. That new patriotism, as Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer write in The True Patriot, means ‘appreciating not only what is great about our country but also what it takes to create and sustain greatness.’ … America has a greatness of purpose that no other nation does, and that for all our achievement, our greatest tasks remain before us.”

We live in a democracy based on free markets. In fact, every community in America depends on a trustworthy foundation for capitalism, from Main Street to Wall Street. We are all active participants in this free market. In fact, we are a major part of its foundation. As a profession, we have a responsibility and civic duty to continue our “unfinished business” of continuing to improve the free markets and the public trust we have earned.

So, for this holiday weekend, be proud to be an American, think about what else we can do to make a difference in our communities and our profession — to, as Mr. Stengel said, “create and sustain greatness.”

And one more wish — that you remember our men and women in the armed forces and first responders who stand in harm’s way, and all of those brave men and women who came before them to fight for and protect these principles and ideas that are uniquely American.

Here is hoping you had a happy and relaxing July 4th Independence Day!

WC Markey