U.S. Embassy Vilnius 2019 Independence Day Reception
Ambassador Hall’s Welcoming Remarks
June 20, 2019
Chief of Mission Residence, Vilnius, Lithuania
Gerbiami svečiai, ponios ir ponai, sveikinu Jus atvykusius į Jungtinių Amerikos Valstijų nepriklausomybės šventę! Dėkoju visiems susirinkusiems.
Visų pirma, noriu pasveikinti mūsų garbingus svečius: gerbiami ministrai, užsienio atstovybių vadovai, dėkoju, kad atvykote.
Taip pat norėčiau padėkoti mūsų puikiems dainininkams Rokui Spalinskui ir Marijai Grabštaitei bei Vilniaus Balio Dvariono muzikos mokyklos bigbendui už nuostabią muziką.
Esame ypač dėkingi mūsų dosniems rėmėjams. Be jų indėlio ši šventė tikrai nebūtų tokia puiki.
Once again this year, is my great honor to be here to share this day with all of you – our good friends and partners. July 4th is a celebration of what it means to be American. The United States was created of that most basic human aspiration – to be free to forge one’s own destiny under the rule of democratic law.
Our country has evolved considerably since its founding, with voting rights now extended to all citizens and immigrants contributing to our society from a multitude of ethnic groups, including many from Lithuania. But the fundamental ideals forged by our founders those many years ago, and the optimism and belief in the possibility of a better future that those ideals represented, have not changed. They continue to bind us together and move us forward with the belief that we can achieve anything if we believe we can.
Lithuanians and Americans share those values – some of you here today have heard me say that Lithuanians have the hearts of freedom fighters. Fighting for freedom is at the core of American values, and it is at the core of Lithuanian values. You value what you have fought for and achieved – which is one reason why I have such respect for Lithuania and its people. Lithuania has achieved remarkable success since regaining its independence in 1990 – in innovative economic development, energy independence, security and defense, strengthening of civil society and in so many other ways. It warms my heart to see the tremendous increase in economic investment in Lithuania – today more than ever coming from the United States – as I walk the streets of Vilnius and travel throughout the country. So much progress has been made since I first arrived here in 2010.
I am proud that this Embassy has partnered with you in all of these areas along the way and I thank all of you here today for your support in this endeavor. You understand the value of freedom and the preciousness of democracy more than most people in the world. You don’t take it for granted, and you fight hard to support others, such as in Ukraine and Moldova, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, who are fighting for their own free and democratic future.
So let us take a moment to reflect on the ideals without which we would not be here together today: That all peoples are created equal, and that all peoples have certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our founders held those truths to be self-evident, and we hold them with the same conviction today. Let us never forget to protect, cherish and defend those ideals.
And finally, on a personal note, this is the last July 4th celebration that I will host as the U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania. I will be returning to the United States at the end of July. Lithuania has a special place in my heart and I will remember with great affection the time I spent here and the people I had the good fortune to know. And I’ll always be a voice for a strong, prosperous, independent Lithuania and for the U.S. – Lithuanian partnership.
Thank you all for joining us to celebrate America’s independence!
O dabar visi pakelkime taures „už laisvę ir nepriklausomybę“.