Ambassador Sharon Day
Welcome Remarks July 4 Celebration
Tuesday, July 3, 6:00 PM
- President of the Legislative Assembly, Carolina Hidalgo
- President of the Supreme Court, Carlos Chinchilla
- Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Epsy Campbell
- Members of the Diplomatic Corps
- Representatives of the Government of Costa Rica
- Ladies and Gentleman
Buenas Noches…Bienvenidos todos
This evening we celebrate one of our most treasured holidays for America – the Fourth of July… and tonight…we are honored to have the opportunity to share this important holiday with all of you…our friends and our partners in Costa Rica.
The United States was created on the founding principles of freedom, democracy, and liberty – and it is these founding principles that strengthen our two countries in friendship. The United States and Costa Rica’s shared love of democracy…our love of freedom…and our love of liberty… will always join our countries together in friendship.
As we start tonight’s program, I want to take a moment to thank the sponsors of tonight’s festivities…without your support…tonight’s event would not be possible. Without you…we could not share the celebration of America’s Independence. I would also like to give my most heartfelt appreciation and thanks for the support of the entire Embassy’s July 4th Celebration Committee and our two Chairs Lavonda Baldwin and Kelly Dubois who made this celebration possible. You created a truly wonderful July 4th Picnic.
A special thank you to Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Epsy Campbell for joining us this evening on behalf of the government of Costa Rica…and we want to acknowledge and thank the many Ministers that are also with us tonight. It is a true honor to be with you as we celebrate the commitment to democracy that rings loud and clear in both of our beautiful countries.
On this day, 242 years ago, our founding fathers declared the United States of America an independent nation. They created this new nation not based on a common history or a common ethnicity – but on an idea. An idea of a country where all people would be treated equally. Where liberty and justice would prevail, and where the government would be led “by the people, for the people.” Where freedom of speech and freedom of religion would be protected, and the institutions of government would be stronger than any one individual.
These were bold ideas…from bold men…individuals who took great personal risks for themselves and for their families in setting out on this new adventure in nation-building. They were individuals, that in fact…risked everything for this grand experiment in freedom and democracy. And now, over two centuries later, those foundational values are still alive and well today. Their experiment in governance gave birth to a Constitution that, through good days and bad… has served as a beacon in our efforts to champion democracy, liberty, and justice for all – and not just at home but also abroad. Today, we recognize the incredible vision of our founding fathers and honor the core values underpinning the great United States of America. We reaffirm our commitment to the belief that what binds our country together…is that all people everywhere…are created equal…and have a fundamental right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Each Fourth of July, Americans celebrate these values that tie us together, much as we are doing here. As many of you may know, this is my first July 4th away from my homeland. But if I and my fellow Americans were in the United States…we would be celebrating just as we are tonight. Our United States Embassy in San Jose want to share with you…our friends and our family…an authentic Independence Day celebration. In the United States, the Fourth of July is a time to be with family and with friends. It is a day for family cookouts, for baseball in the park…or maybe for futball… it’s a time for fireworks at dusk…but because our friends in Costa Rica share their fireworks with us on almost a nightly basis…at tonight’s celebration…no fireworks are needed. It’s a day for good food, good friends, good conversations, lots of laughter and where I’m from – good country music.
Ask any American of their memories of the Fourth of July, and the answers are usually the same. The smell of hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill…potato salad…baked beans…juicy watermelon…apple and pecan pies… and picnic tables with red checkered tablecloths. Cold beer and sweet lemonade. Parades led by fire trucks and high school marching bands and our American flags flying high. But more than anything, what you’ll hear… is that the Fourth of July is a day to come together with loved ones and to simply enjoy each other’s company, as we honor the sacrifices that are made every day to keep our country safe and free.
This is the spirit of the Fourth of July that we want to share with you today; a spirit of friendship…of freedom and of democracy…a spirit that is as strong in this wonderful country…as it is in our own homeland.
I have been blessed to travel to every state in my country and witness the beauty of my homeland. I have walked through wheat fields in Kansas…stood in awe at the beauty of the grand canyon…felt the power of the sea…witnessed wild horses on our plains, and stood in appreciation to the monuments of our heroes… and I have shared and experienced…all across America…my fellow American’s pride in our principles of freedom and democracy.
In my first months in Costa Rica…I have also traveled across this country and witnessed her beauty…the beauty in the spirit reflected in the smiles of children learning English…in the aspirations of the many women elected to the National Assembly…in the pride our U.S. companies share for their Costa Rican team members…I have walked the beauty of Costa Rica’s countryside and witnessed her waterfalls…her mountains…her precious wildlife… and I have witnessed…all across Costa Rica…Costa Rican’s pride in their principles of freedom and democracy.
Our shared spirit for our two countries will always be strong and is embodied by our deep partnership and in our joint ventures to promote prosperity and stability throughout the region. From Caldera to Limon, from Liberia to Talamanca, we are working together on programs that strengthen our commitment to good governance, safe communities, and empowering the most vulnerable members of society. It is in the spirit of our shared values that Costa Ricans and Americans come together, as partners and friends…for a better world…for greater economic opportunity… and for the chance to enjoy a healthy and happy life…for the opportunity to live Pura Vida!
On this Fourth of July, when so many of us are far from our family in the States… it is wonderful be here with you…our Costa Rican friends and family who hold dear the same values and principles that represent what this day is really about…our foundational commitment to democracy and liberty.
As a symbol of our enduring friendship….please join me in raising your glass to toast this celebration in the shared spirit of the Fourth of July that is alive and well in the United States of America and in this beautiful country of Costa Rica.
May God Bless each of you and May God always bless our homelands…the United States of America and Costa Rica. God speed and a very Happy Fourth of July!