Friends, my fellow Americans, welcome to America’s Independence Day celebration!
We are celebrating a month early to respect the holy month of Ramadan, but today we remember the revolutionary Congress meeting on July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia that issued America’s “Declaration of Independence” that changed the course of modern history.
Pledging their “lives, . . . fortunes and . . . sacred honor,” they defiantly declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
America’s founders were great because they succeeded in harnessing one of the most powerful forces in history — democracy and self-government. No force has done more to improve quality of life, guarantee peace, and spread prosperity.
We Americans believe that democracy and freedom enable prosperity and security on people. But democracy is not a one-time achievement. We must continue to strive to create a more perfect democracy that will safeguard our freedoms.
What makes tonight’s celebration all the more meaningful is that the rights we celebrate are not America’s alone. All people, everywhere, are endowed by their creator with those same unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I am honored to serve as the American Ambassador to Indonesia and to witness first-hand the fruits of Indonesia’s successful pursuit of those rights. Indonesia’s remarkable democratic transformation since 1998 in particular has attracted the world’s recognition and respect.
And as we endeavor to guarantee the rights of all of our citizens — the right to speak, the right to assemble, the right to worship, to name a few — we are confident that our shared commitment to freedom and democracy will benefit both our peoples and strengthen the ties between our countries.
The theme of tonight’s celebration is Go Green to highlight the importance of clean energy and sustainable development. I encourage you to hop on the electric motorcycle, look at the model of the new green embassy we are building, and see the other displays of our green cooperation here, including biodegradable balloons and local, low carbon, sustainable food.
Most of all, thank you all for joining us tonight and for all that each of you do to help build the dynamic partnership between two of the largest democracies in the world. Have a wonderful evening!