U.S. Ambassador Karen Stanton Remarks at the Celebration of the U.S. Independence Day, 2017

Great Seal of the United States

President of the Court of Appeals, Vice Foreign Minister Soares, Distinguished guests, Friends and colleagues,

Tonight we gather together to remember the day, 241 years ago, when America’s founders came together to pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to the principle that all people have the right to choose how and by whom, they will be governed. On Independence Day Americans gather together to acknowledge that yes, we have our faults, but what makes our revolution unique and so exciting, is that it changed the very concept of government. We are celebrating America’s birthday here in an independent Timor-Leste whose people have demonstrated that those same values and that same courage are just as precious to a people on the other side of the world more than 240 years later.

This past year we held presidential elections in the United States and in Timor-Leste and citizens of Timor-Leste will go to the polls again soon to choose their new government. Both countries are proud of their commitment to the joys and responsibilities of citizenship in our free and democratic countries.

As we celebrate our independence this year, let us pause to reflect on the sacrifices of those who have defended our liberties throughout our histories.

As we celebrate, let us remember the warm friendship between Timor-Leste and the United States. Let us appreciate the shared values that are the foundation of our permanent partnership.

And as we celebrate the independence of both our countries, our elections, and our freedoms, let us all also celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of our diplomatic relations.

In the United States, we mark our Independence Day with a combination of patriotism and picnics. Tonight, I hope that you have a wonderful time at our birthday party on the lawn — enjoy the flags and anthems, the barbecue, the music and dancing, and the red, white, and blue everything.   Thanks to all of you here tonight for joining the celebration of our independence.