Happy Independence Day, 2013!!
A little rain failed to dampen what turned out to be a wonderful Independence Day celebration at the Consul General’s residence last Saturday. Despite rain all morning, threatening clouds, and a brief downpour during the traditional singing of the National Anthems, a good time was had by all. As always, a huge thank you to our sponsors, who helped make it possible for our guests to enjoy an American holiday celebration, including hot dogs, pizza, delicious liquid refreshment, and some great jazz: Ernst & Young, the American Chamber of Commerce, Mars, Coca Cola, the Strasbourg Hilton Hotel, Americans in Alsace, and association Alsace Etats-Unis, which provided the outstanding musical entertainment, jazz band “Moving”, the obligatory Fourth of July beer, and many helping hands. A special thank you to Ms. Julianna Rambaldi for her lovely and inspiring renditions of the Marsaillaise and the Star Spangled Banner, to the U.S. Army Europe Woodwind Quintet for musical entertainment, to Boy Scouts of America Troop 681, International School of Basel, Switzerland, for presenting the colors, and to Embassy Paris Deputy Chief of Mission Mark Taplin for honoring us with his presence.
Of course, Independence Day is about more than just enjoying a picnic, parade, or party. It’s about taking a moment to remember the courage, convictions, and foresight of the men who took great risks to declare the independence of the United States 237 years ago. Indeed, they concluded the Declaration by writing: “For the support of this Declaration . . . we pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” What they did truly changed the world.
Below follows the text of the brief remarks I made Saturday afternoon. Thanks again to all our great sponsors, volunteers, and the staff at the U.S. Consulate General in Strasbourg. Happy Birthday, America!!
REMARKS OF THE CONSUL GENERAL, JUNE 29, 2013
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you all for being with us today as we celebrate and commemorate the 237th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This was a document that clearly enunciated certain principles that today we all take for granted:
— that all men are created equal;
— that all are endowed with certain unalienable rights;
— that among these rights are the rights to life, to liberty, and to the pursuit of happiness.
While these words seem self-evident to us today, in 1776 they were revolutionary.
The birth of our nation led to revolutions elsewhere and was soon followed by the equally famous phrase of “Liberte, Egalitie, Fraternatie.” Eventually it was recognized by many nations, around the world, that certain rights are universal. And today it is the duty of the Council of Europe to protect and perpetuate in Europe what we all still, I think, take for granted: democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
So as you enjoy an All-American hot dog on this most American of all holiday, please take just a moment to remember the courage and convictions of those who founded the United States of America and who believed in a better, and freer life for everyone.
I’d like to conclude by thanking all those who made this event possible today. Our sponsors Coca Cola, Mars, the Hilton Hotel, Pizza Hut, Ernst & Young, the American Chamber of Commerce in France, Americans in Alsace, and association Alsace Etats-Unis and its President M. Francis Hirn. Thanks as well to all our wonderful volunteers today, and to my wonderful staff at the U.S. Consulate General.
Happy Independence Day, everyone.
Evan G. Reade