Ambassador Christopher Robinson
Thursday, June 29, 2023
U.S. Embassy in Latvia
Dārgie draugi, laipni lūdzam! Paldies, ka atnācāt, lai kopā ar mums nosvinētu mūsu Neatkarības dienu! [Dear friends, welcome! Thank you for coming to celebrate our Independence Day with us!]
Good afternoon ministers and excellencies, distinguished guests, friends. Donka and I are honored to welcome you to our celebration of America’s 247th Independence Day. We haven’t had this many people at the Embassy since the massive flower delivery last month—congratulations again to Latvia for your hockey victory!
Donka and I would like to thank you for the warm and generous welcome we’ve received in our first few months in Latvia and your hospitality as we’ve explored your beautiful country, from Liepaja to Daugavpils and many places in between.
The Embassy is celebrating July 4 a little early this year because we are very excited about the Song and Dance Festival that begins tomorrow! Donka and I are eager to share in this beautiful tradition that means so much to the people of Latvia. We are also enjoying meeting and welcoming the many American Latvians who are here to perform and see the Festival—they are a fantastic illustration of the deep history that binds our two countries together. I’m grateful to the members of the five Latvian American choirs who joined us today to sing our national anthems.
As we commemorate the anniversary of our independence, I am reminded of the many successes, accomplishments, and challenges that our nation has experienced and how far we have come as a nation. Our Independence Day provides an opportunity for Americans to honor the legacy of those who sacrificed for our independence and those who today continue to preserve it.
I want to offer my special thanks to our American military members here today, as well as the Latvian military service members and those of other NATO Allies in attendance. Thank you – we are here today to celebrate and enjoy these freedoms because of your sacrifice.
Anniversaries like this are not only an opportunity reflect on the past, but also look forward to the future with renewed hope and conviction. The United States is a large and diverse nation, and Americans come from every corner of the world, every walk of life, every system of belief. We are passionate about our freedoms, including the freedom to disagree with each other and with our government.
I say with confidence that today we are guided by the same aspirations and ideals that inspired our earliest leaders when they signed our Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776: the belief in self-governance and freedom, the belief that everyone is created equal with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
As a nation, we are united in our determination to continue the hard work of this American project. We will continue to seek to live up to the principles set forth in our Declaration of Independence.
We are also united in our commitment to partner with like-minded nations to promote and defend these values. We know that our passion for freedom, equality, and the dignity of the individual is not unique to Americans. In fact, it is the reason we enjoy such a strong friendship with the people of Latvia, who throughout the last century courageously fought for their liberty and sovereignty and know very well the challenges and rewards of the hard work that is democracy.
Our shared determination to defend these values—and ensure that our children and grandchildren will enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities—bind us together in NATO, the strongest military alliance in the world.
These values are also why our hearts and minds are with the people of Ukraine who are waging their own courageous struggle to defend their independence and freedom from Russia’s brutal war of aggression. The United States – together with Latvia and all of our allies and partners – is firmly committed to supporting Ukraine’s defense today, tomorrow, for as long as it takes.
As I conclude and before I turn it over to Ruta for the next part of our program, and we return to our celebration of freedom, I offer a few words of thanks:
I thank Lauren Higgins and Danielle Polumbo and the entire Embassy team for all of the work they put into this making this event happen today.
I thank our sponsors for their support—you can see their names on the screen.
I thank our Marine Security Guard Detachment. I am humbled by your dedication and service.
Finally, I would like to thank all of you—for connecting with us, for working with us, for befriending us and supporting the values we share together. We look forward to making our friendship even deeper and stronger. Thank you!