Independence Day Remarks by Ambassador Richard

Ambassador Richard
Independence Day Remarks
July 3, 2018

Thank you very very much everyone for being here. And I really want to specially say thank you to our National anthem singers – that was beautiful – thank you so much. I thank everyone today for joining us to celebrate American Independence Day.  In particular, also special thanks to the representative of President Aoun Minister Cesar Abi-Khalil, the representative of Speaker Berri, MP Ali Bazzi, and the representative of Prime Minister Hariri, Minister Jean Ogassapian.

On this 242nd anniversary of America’s Independence, I want to take a moment to reflect on the past, celebrate our shared present, and look forward together to the future.

Every year embassies around the world gather with our partners and friends to celebrate Independence Day, and we are doing that today in Lebanon.

At its heart, Independence Day is a celebration of the American fight for democracy.  This is the day that our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence, a particularly dramatic act of political – and personal – courage.

Those who signed the Declaration knew at the time that challenging the stronger ruling power could end badly for all of them.  The last line of the Declaration of Independence reflects this.  It says:

For the Support of this Declaration… we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor.

I think these are some of the most powerful lines in the Declaration, because they reflect a decision by the country’s leaders to take personal responsibility for the direction in which they were about to take the country.

Two hundred and forty two years later, Americans still accept and embrace the courage that democracy requires.

We are not the only democracy that understands this.  I think that Lebanon showed courage this last year, by holding the first elections in nine years.

Your elected leaders will now have to continue to show courage as they work to form the next government.

It is not easy, I know.  But, as was the case for our founding fathers, it could not be more important for the country’s future.

As a U.S. Government, and the U.S. Embassy, we want to continue to support the important work of helping you build the Lebanese State.

.We continue to invest in the development and economic growth of this country. We have robust programs in public health, agriculture, and small and medium business.

We continue to invest in the future of Lebanon, with extensive programs in education, from primary school to university scholarships.

And we continue to invest heavily in the professionalization of the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Internal Security Forces.

I believe that as long as we share a common vision of the future, the United States will continue to support the citizens of this country as they work to build a better future for Lebanon.

And speaking of the future…

We are all standing on what was meant to be a temporary Embassy, but it has now been our home in Lebanon for 35 years. You can see how it has aged… and, unfortunately, not as gracefully as fine Lebanese wine age.

So today we are looking up the hill behind us, behind all of you, to a new era in our relationship.  Last year, we made a one billion dollar investment in a new U.S. Embassy.   While we will not move into our new home for a few years yet, each cement block cements our enduring commitment to the US-Lebanese relationship.

In closing, again, I want to thank our talented musicians from Jazz Education Abroad and our National anthem singers. And I would also like to ask you to look around for a moment as I give a very special thanks to our very very generous vendors.

You know in the United States it is tradition to celebrate with friends and family with classic American food, and today we are doing that here in Lebanon.  I hope you continue to enjoy the entertainment and I hope you go and sample the offerings from so many of our favorite American foods and brands.

Again, thank you all very very much for making the effort to come up and join us tonight. I hope you have a wonderful time. Please enjoy the rest of the evening.