Speeches, Remarks & Statements in 2012
Remarks for Independence Day Reception
Ambassador Paul D. Wohlers
July 3, 2012
Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Prime Minister, Ambassadors, Ministers, Representatives of religious communities, Mayors, Members of Parliament, dear friends and colleagues: Dobra Vecer, Mir embrema!
Thank you for joining us today for this celebration of the 236th anniversary of American Independence. In 1776, Thomas Jefferson, a Founding Father and our third President, drafted the Declaration of Independence. This document, which has served as a foundation for modern political philosophy and human rights, contains what some have called the best known sentence in the English language:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Two hundred and thirty six years later, those words still hold the power to move and inspire us, and those ideals are values we all share.
The United States has been called “the Grand Experiment” because it was created by the people, for the people. It is an experiment that is still very much in progress. We have travelled as a nation along many difficult roads; we have suffered terrible tragedies, numerous disappointments, and faced enormous challenges. But we have persevered.
Those ideals of freedom and equal opportunity for all citizens inspire us to work each day to ensure they are realized. Ours is an imperfect example, but we continue to strive for a society in which hard work is rewarded, and freedoms protected, regardless of race, nationality, religion or gender.
By contrast, Macedonia is a very young country, celebrating its twenty-first birthday this year. This nation and the citizens of Macedonia also have travelled many difficult roads. In twenty-one short years, you too have suffered terrible tragedies, numerous disappointments, and faced enormous challenges. Like the United States, you face as a nation and as citizens many difficulties today as well. At times, they might seem overwhelming, but the people of Macedonia also know what it is to persevere and to overcome obstacles with patience and hard work.
In that, you will always have the United States by your side. Ours is not a friendship of convenience. We are proud of the partnership we have enjoyed with Macedonia since its independence, and we look forward to seeing what you will achieve AFTER you have taken your deserved seat at the table as a full and welcome member of the Euro-Atlantic community.
I am eager to watch this country succeed and grow stronger as a richly diverse, secure, and prosperous democracy – another grand experiment.
Our great partnership with Macedonia is exemplified by the generous support of our local sponsors, and I’d like to take a moment to thank them:
AAG – Analyses and Advisory Group; Alkaloid; AmCham; Cisco; Deloitte; Diners Club; Genzyme Corporation; Grant Thornton; Hewlett Packard; Johnson Controls; Makedonijaturist; Makpetrol; Makstil; McCann Erickson; Microsoft; Mi-Da Motors; MSD Idea – Merck Sharp & Dohme; Netra; Pivara Skopje; Prilepska Pivarnica; Publicis Groupe; Sinpeks; SJ Company; Skenderovski Marine; Teknoxgroup; Two Guys; Wabtec MZT and Western Union.
Many thanks to all of you.
Finally, on behalf of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, let me express my warmest wishes to the leaders and the people of Macedonia. Please join me now in a toast to the friendship between our two countries, and to the 236th birthday of the United States of America.
Blagodaram, Faleminderit, Thank you all very much.