U.S. Diplomats Around the World Celebrate Fourth of July

Fourth of July Photo Gallery

On the Fourth of July, most Americans reflect on our nation and freedom, barbeque with friends and family, and watch fireworks and parades. For U.S. diplomats, the Fourth of July represents an opportunity to share the American experience and strengthen relationships with foreign counterparts. For all of us, this holiday also stands as a reminder of the democratic values we so cherish.

DipNote’s editors asked our colleagues serving around the world to share about their embassies’ Independence Day celebrations, which you'll find below, and we wish all of our readers a Happy Fourth of July!

From the U.S. Embassy in Yaoundé, Cameroon:

Embassy Yaoundé held its Independence Day celebration on July 2. The Navy Band "Topside" played a beautiful rendition of the American National Anthem and entertained the embassy's 1,800 guests dancing and singing along with the band.

During her remarks, Ambassador Janet Garvey highlighted the strength of the U.S.-Cameroonian bilateral relationship and commented on Cameroon's recent difficulties saying, "Frankly, the past year has brought great challenges: the attacks in Bakassi, the unrest in February, setbacks to media freedoms and human rights... There has been some laudable progress in fighting corruption, but democracy is hard work and demands constant effort and total commitment ... I trust and hope to see progress on Cameroon’s democratic path in the year ahead. As a friend of Cameroon, the United States will support this effort in any way we can. Friends do not always agree but they listen to each other, share ideas, and speak with candor and honesty."

From the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal:

Just as summer begins and people begin to dread attending yet another national day that seems to stand between them and their vacation, Embassy Lisbon organized a July 4th reception that was a mini-vacation in Americana. Ambassador Thomas Stephenson and his wife Barbara hosted a “Tribute to Hollywood” July 4th event.

Costumed actors (dancers from a local company that had successfully paired with an American company in an embassy-sponsored exchange) portraying Audrey Hepburn, Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, and others mingled with the crowd, providing a living, breathing representation of the collage of classic clips (compiled by an Embassy Foreign Service National) that played on six large screens. In his remarks, Ambassador Stephenson credited American film with providing a window onto our country for the rest of the world – and noted that many foreign-born directors and actors had helped in this effort of explaining America to the world.

"Never have we seen such a marvelous celebration of America," was what Embassy Lisbon hosts heard from contacts who had perhaps initially dreaded the obligation to attend. Talent from the Embassy itself loomed large; Public Affairs Officer Wes Carrington and Public Affairs Specialist Ana do Carmo performed a provocative skit composed entirely of memorable lines from American cinema. And, if bilateral relations can be unpredictable at times, "like a box of chocolates," we know that in the end we can "handle the truth" that our alliance is sure, partly based on our common cinematic experience.

From the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa:

The U.S. Mission in Pretoria, South Africa, celebrated U.S. Independence Day on July 3, at a reception hosted by Ambassador Eric M. Bost at the American Community Center.

A Congressional delegation comprised of Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA), Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA), Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA), Congressman George Miller (D-CA), Congressman Don Payne (D-NJ), Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA), and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA) also attended as part of their official program in South Africa. Congressman Berman is a prominent supporter of the U.S. government’s HIV/AIDS initiative -- the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) -- as well as the author of the recent bill, signed by President Bush on July 1, which removed the visa ineligibility of ANC members that participated in the struggle against apartheid.

The South African government was represented by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sue Van Der Merwe, and over 250 foreign diplomats, dignitaries and officials were in attendance.



July 6, 2008

Liran in Israel writes:

I am an Israeli living in Israel, we have our own independence day and we love our country and celebrate it as Americans do. with that said, what many Americans don't know is that on the Israeli independence day many of us put the U.S. flag beside the Israeli flag, and in addition celebrate the 4th of july.

The reason for doing so is quite simple, the U.S. 4th of July represents more than just the deceleration of independence it marks the birth of a nation which in the future (now) stands tall before the powers who wish to destroy this planet. writing about it makes me feel like a child telling a fairy tail, but if you simplify it, the situation around the world today is exacly that, just as Tolkin's "Lord of the Rings" may be described as a reflection of WWII in a story (the Orcs as the Nazi war machine and the battle of the few VS the mighty) today's war with Iraq and tension with Iran may be described as the battle of good VS bad, with the U.S. as the brotherhood which keeps the peace and defends the weak (Kuwait for example but there are many more).

It is an honour for me as an Israeli to know I have allies overseas which will stand by my side should I need them and I will d the same should I bee needed, there aren't many nations who have their independance day celebrated by other nations.

United States
July 6, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Here is what is happening in America, a most un-happy birthday, in quotes from today's news:

"One member's son is serving his second tour in Iraq. Another speaks of a daughter who's lost her job in the mortgage industry and a son in construction whose salary was slashed. Still another mentions a friend who can barely afford gas.""There's just entirely too much wrong right now.""There is a sense of helplessness everywhere you look. It's like you're stuck in one spot, and you can't do anything about it.""My God, it's horrible, it really is," a 33-year-old says, adding: "If diesel goes north of five, it will be really difficult at the price we're getting to stay in farming.""We used to have more money than we knew what to do with. Now, I have to decide: Do I pay the electric this week? Do I pay for gas? Do I get groceries?"

Those "right direction, wrong direction" polls _ the latest of which, in June, had only 14 to 17 percent of Americans saying the country is going the right way"

Says Arizona retiree Diane Kinsman: "You have no faith in anybody at the top. I don't trust anybody, and I'm really disgusted about it.""Media reports note that the world isn't rallying around U.S. policies..."

United States
July 7, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

To paraphrase Gary North, "when in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to live off your credit cards because the government has stolen 30% to 40% of everything you have made, it takes away a lot of the enthusiasm for celebrating the Declaration of Independence.

When Jefferson wrote that document, the British were extracting approximately 1% of national income from the American colonies. For the southern colonies, it may have been 2.5%. If we could somehow get back to the tyranny of Great Britain in 1776, I would be willing to celebrate the Fourth of July with greater enthusiasm..."

Syrian P.
July 9, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

Americans should be crying this 4th of July. There is nothing left of the Constitution, Bill of Rights or Independence to celebrate. Americans should be honoring the 4th of July Memorial Day. Remembering the words of Jefferson and Franklin, what they proclaimed what it will be like in 200 years after the first? tatatata.

July 11, 2008

FAS writes:

How many years is America independant now? 200+ or so?

U.S. Ambassador Celebrating U.S. Independence Day in Cameroon
Posted by DipNote Bloggers
July 4, 2008


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