HARLETON — America’s freedoms that its military veterans fought for are under attack, state Sen. Bryan Hughes told students at Harleton High School on Thursday.

Hughes, R-Mineola, spoke at the school’s annual Veterans Day program, which also was attended by veterans and their families.

The veterans were recognized for their service by their military branch, during the Armed Forces Salute, then Harleton High School band members played taps on their trumpets in honor of all military veterans who have died.

“Life, liberty, freedom of religion, free speech, free markets, the right to bear arms and defend yourself, these are all things you are so blessed as Americans to have, thanks to the sacrifice of veterans,” Hughes said told the assembly. “These are all things that were always a given in our country, but they are under attack like never before. America is the land of opportunity, and if we work hard and trust in the Lord, we can have a good life, and that is all due to these veterans sitting here among us today.”

Hughes encouraged the students in Harleton to cherish the rights given to them from their creator, not the government.

“In our Declaration of Independence, our founders wrote and believed that these rights came from God, our Creator, not from the government,” Hughes said.

Hughes cautioned the students to hold firm to the values that made America the most free country on the globe.

“Today, even in Canada, people are being jailed for their speech. America is the only country left that has free speech, and it’s under attack. Free speech means that someone can say something I disagree with, and I can tell them why I disagree, and we have a debate, hash things out.”

Hughes said Americans also celebrate freedom of religion, but in other countries, Christians, Muslims, Hindu and other faiths are being persecuted in their homelands for serving their own deity.

“We also have the right to defend ourselves, keep and bear arms, and it’s under attack in this country like never before,” he said. “We also have the free market system, capitalism. They say most college students today think socialism is a good idea. Capitalism means even the poorest among us can have an idea for business or service that people will buy, and you can make money. Socialism and communism leads to fewer jobs and fewer opportunities while the free market system does the most good for the most people.”

Veterans Day, which is Monday, is observed every Nov. 11 to honor and recognize military veterans for their service in the U.S. armed forces.