Independence Day Celebration: Remarks by Ambassador David D. Pearce (July 2, 2014)

Independence Day Celebration at the Ambassador's Residence (State Department Photo)
Independence Day Celebration at the Ambassador’s Residence (State Department Photo)

Independence Day Celebration
Chief of Mission Residence
Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 7pm

Remarks by Ambassador David D. Pearce

(as prepared)

Please join me in another round of applause for Lisa, Emily, and George.  Mr. Deputy Prime Minister, members of the cabinet, Excellencies, friends, thank you all for coming this evening to share in our celebration of American independence.

Αξιότιμες κυρίες και κύριοι καλησπέρα σας,
Με ιδιαίτερη χαρά σας καλωσορίζουμε απόψε στο Jefferson House, όπου και φέτος εορτάζουμε και τιμούμε  την Ημέρα της Ανεξαρτησίας των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών της Αμερικής.

Since this is my first Fourth of July in Greece, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the filoxenia that you have shown to me since I arrived here nine months ago.

And I especially want to thank all of our donors and sponsors who made this celebration possible.  We greatly appreciate your generosity.  Thanks to Harley for lending us those motorcycles. Nothing evokes the classic American road trip like a Harley.  And thanks to the Hellenic Motor Museum for lending us some classic American cars.  Out front we have a 1927 Lincoln, a 1957 Lincoln, and a 1937 New York City police car that was used in filming the Captain America movie.  If you haven’t seen those up close yet, I urge you to give them a look.

When President Obama nominated me to be Ambassador to Greece, it was an honor, and it fulfilled a dream of mine.  I have had a special affection for Greece and Greek culture for decades, ever since I travelled here when I was a college student in 1971.

That was over forty years ago.  In that time, a lot has changed.  Our countries have been through good times and tough trials, periods of plenty and also harsh days as well.  The one thing that has been consistent over those decades, indeed for much longer, is the friendship and admiration between the United States and Greece.

And all would agree that both of our countries have endured for so long because, at every crucial moment, we have had the courage to change, to make difficult but bold decisions, and still to be faithful to our most fundamental ideals.

Today we are living through another period of profound and historic change: change in the way we work, the way we live, the way we relate to one another and to the rest of the world.  For Greece, change means things are looking up: tourist arrivals, business creation, even unemployment numbers are improving slightly.

It is a transition period, and I feel privileged to be Ambassador at such a time in Greek history.  I will do all I can to strengthen and improve the many ties between us, to build on and invest even more in our relationship.  Let me repeat this in Greek.

Κι εγώ προσωπικά θα κάνω ό,τι μπορώ γιά να ενδυναμώσουμε τους ήδη ισχυρούς μας δεσμούς.  Είναι προς συμφέρον των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών να βγει η Ελλάδα από την κρίση πιo δυνατή.

Times of transition can bring profound change, but some things are unchanging, like the truths set down in our Declaration of Independence.  We believe that, and I quote, “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.”  If we get these basics right, we will be well equipped to meet the challenges and possibilities of the future.

Ladies and gentlemen, my wife Leyla and I are pleased to join our fellow Americans here in Athens and around the world in celebrating our 238th Independence Day.  On behalf of President Obama, the American people, and the entire Embassy community, we want to thank you for celebrating with us tonight.

Κυρίες και κύριοι, Εκ μέρους όλων μας, θα ήθελα να σας ευχαριστήσω θερμά για την παρουσία σας εδώ απόψε.  Είναι μεγάλη τιμή για εμάς!  …και καλή διασκέδαση στη συνέχεια….