Ambassador Hovenier’s Remarks for Independence Day Celebration

Ambassador Hovenier’s Remarks for Independence Day Celebration, July 1, 2022

(As Prepared)
President Osmani, Prime Minister Kurti, distinguished guests – Thank you for joining me and U.S. Embassy team to celebrate the 246th Independence Day of the United States of America.

Today is first and foremost a celebration.

I’m well aware that my speech stands in the way of enjoying the food, drinks, entertainment, and fine company gathered here today.

So, I promise, I’ll be brief.

246 years ago, 56 representatives from 13 American colonies gathered in Philadelphia and ratified what was then considered a radical document – our Declaration of Independence.

This document declared the colonies’ status as sovereign, independent states.

Not only was it the first step in the formation of the United States, it describes our aspirations as a people – aspirations and values we continue to strive for and work toward today.

In its second sentence, it lays out the American promise: “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.”

This promise also guides American foreign policy outside our borders.

That is why the United States was an early, ardent supporter of Kosovo’s independence.

That is why we remain steadfast in defending Kosovo’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

So, today, as we celebrate 246 years of the United States as a free, independent, sovereign state, we also celebrate together Kosovo’s 14 years of independence and the extraordinary progress you have made in that short period of time.

I can think of no place that is more appropriate to do so than right here – at the U.S. Embassy to a sovereign, independent, and democratic Kosovo.

As I conclude, I want to simply note that these events don’t happen by themselves.

Please join me in thanking our hundreds of volunteers, who have been so ably led by Valerie Tucker and Agron Beqiri, in pulling this all together.

I also want to thank our many sponsors, without whom this event simply would not be possible. Thank you for your generosity and support.

And on a personal note – thank you to Arlind Gjyshinca, Sokol Latifi, and Arbnor Gashi from the Kosovo Philharmonic Choir for joining me to sing the U.S. National Anthem. And thank you to Kosovo Philharmonic Director Baki Jashari for making them available. Faleminderit shumë!

Thank you all very much and – Happy Independence Day!