US Ambassador's Independence Day Remarks
Monday, July 07, 2008
The United States Embassy in
Address by the
Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the U.S. Embassy Banjul's celebration of the 232nd anniversary of the
The Gambia Police Band will now play the national anthems of The Republic of The Gambia and the
I'd like to say a big thank you to the band's director, Commander Bojang, and his fine musicians for their excellent performance this evening.
This year, as I'm sure you've noted, we at the Embassy are celebrating
Independence Day is significant because it marks not only the independence of the United States, but also because it is a time to reflect upon the fundamental ideals enshrined in the Declaration of Independence - that all men are created equal, that they have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that these rights are to be upheld by democratic form of government.
However, as a relatively young nation, it has taken us time to align these ideals with our practices. Standing here in West Africa on the shore of the
a few weeks after the conclusion of the Roots Homecoming Festival here in The Gambia, we cannot help but be reminded of the painful past of slavery, which was
unfortunately the first link between The Gambia and the
But at the same time, let us remark that even as an imperfect nation, we have faced the negative aspects of our history head on, and rather than forgetting them, we have confronted them. I think what is remarkable about
It was the passion of Americans who believed in freedom and the vision of a better future that led to the abolition movement which eventually ended slavery. And just half a century ago, during the civil rights movement, there were those who dared to dream, and who adhered to the principles of universal liberty even when many in our country did not. The hope, talent, and optimism of Americans have expanded the horizons of possibility. Not long ago, Madeleine Albright broke ground as the first woman to serve as Secretary of State. Today we have our second African American Secretary of State, and our first African-American presidential nominee.
While both our nations have progressed so far, The Gambia, like the
Since my arrival in The Gambia in January, the number of people I have met who are strongly committed to justice, good governance, and the rule of law is commendable. It is this shared belief in democracy and freedom that unites The Gambia and the
I am proud that our relationship with The Gambia has progressed from the dark days of the slave trade into one of mutual respect and shared democratic ideals.
Today, not only are the United States and The Gambia linked by the large Gambian Diaspora resident in America, the considerable Gambian-American presence here, and the ties of the "Roots" experience, we are connected as our two governments contribution of military and police officers who have served and are currently serving
as peacekeepers in
Gambians and Americans have much in common, and also learn a great deal from each other, which is evident in the great interest demonstrated in the cross-cultural programs facilitated by the Embassy and other organizations. In recent months I have seen a number of American student groups visiting and studying in The Gambia. I have reached out to these visiting Americans, because I think they embody the spirit of the
Statement by foreign Affairs Minister
We know very well the significance of independence. I would therefore like to convey on behalf of His Excellency the President, Alhagi Dr. Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, the government and the people of The Gambia, heartfelt congratulations to you Mr. Ambassador, to the government and people of United States of America on the occasion of the independence anniversary of USA here in Banjul. We should all pause and reflect on the significance of the occasion for both the
It is those considerations that underpin The Gambia's relations with the
With those few words excellencies, ladies and gentlemen may I invite you to join me in praying for a stronger American-Gambian relations that are based on mutual trust, respect and justice. Long live