July 3, 2019
Good evening, everyone. It is my pleasure to welcome you all. I am so happy you could join us in celebrating the 243rd anniversary of the independence of the United States of America. We are especially honored to have Governor Ismail Gültekin and members of parliament here and mayors from our municipalities, members of the clergy and religious orders, and all of our honored guests.
While I am newly arrived to Istanbul, the tradition of celebrating Independence Day at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate is one with which I am very familiar, including during the three years I worked at our Consulate in Adana. Each year, around the world, we come together to celebrate America and the signing of our Declaration of Independence. Two hundred forty-three years ago, America’s Founders wrote, “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.” Our Founders envisioned a unique experiment with democracy that honored our shared humanity while respecting the diversity of our society. That respect for different backgrounds, beliefs, and political viewpoints is one of our greatest strengths, and the struggle to achieve equality for all Americans has defined our history.
Tonight’s event is about celebrating American diversity in its culture, history, values, and people, and about celebrating the long and close partnership between our two countries. Our relationship is not just between our governments – it is anchored in the people-to-people ties built by generations of Turks and Americans who have lived, studied, traveled, and worked in both countries.
Tonight, we thank you all for being our neighbors, our partners, and our friends.
And now, it is my distinct honor to introduce Chargé d’Affaires Jeff Hovenier.