Reflecting on America’s Promise: A Journey to the Semiquincentennial, A Fourth of July Message from America250

Happy 248th Independence Day, America! As we approach the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, I am reminded of the Freedom Train that rolled through Oakland, California, in 1975. Attending the bicentennial celebration left an indelible mark on me and my siblings as we marveled at the treasures and symbols of our nation’s history.

The awe I felt as a young girl has stayed with me, shaping my perception of America. Today, I am honored to serve as the Chair of the United States Semiquincentennial Commission, known as America250. Our mission is to orchestrate the most inclusive commemoration and celebration of our nation’s 250th anniversary, ensuring every American’s story is told and shared.

In a time of division and distrust in our country, I find inspiration and resilience in the stories submitted to America’s Invitation because they define our nation. As I travel across the country, meeting people from all walks of life, I am constantly reminded of the shared values and dreams that unite us. At America250, we are dedicated to developing programs that educate, engage, and unite communities across the nation. Our upcoming initiative, America Gives, will celebrate charitable giving, volunteering, and public service, honoring those who step up in times of need. Despite the challenges we face, I see a country filled with promise and opportunity. Our bipartisan Congressional America250 Caucus and our State and Territory Commissions exemplify how leaders can come together to work toward a common goal.

I am particularly inspired by the younger generation, who often have the clearest vision of America’s defining qualities. Their submissions to America’s Field Trip reveal a deep hope and belief in our country’s potential. Their voices remind us that, despite its flaws, America represents progress, opportunity, and community. This Fourth of July, I encourage you to listen to the stories of everyday Americans, especially our youth. Their optimism and belief in the future of our country are what will continue to shape our nation’s narrative.

As we look forward to July 4, 2026, I carry with me a commemorative bicentennial quarter, a token of my mother’s journey from Guadalajara to America. My mother, an immigrant from Guadalajara, Mexico, embodied the optimism that defines America. With no formal education,  she raised nine children as a single mother, sending all of us off to college. Her resilience and optimism are a testament to the enduring spirit of America and the opportunities this nation provides.

America is a young country, and our story is still being written. It will continue to be shaped by the optimism and determination of its people. Let us celebrate this once-in-a-generation milestone with hope and unity, honoring the past while envisioning a brighter future for all of us.


Rosie Rios