Remarks at the July 4 Celebration.
July, 3 2019.
Good evening. Добровечер. Mirëmbrëma. Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, friends, colleagues. It is my great pleasure and honor to welcome you to our American Fair celebrating the 243rd anniversary of the Declaration of the Independence of the United States of America.
In the United States, July 4th starts our season of county and state fairs. These great gatherings bring together Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life to celebrate summer, community, innovation, and fun. Fairs are where farmers show off their prize livestock and produce, businesses show their latest inventions, politicians lobby for votes, and students demonstrate what they’ve learned.
Just as state and county fairs were becoming regular events, Abraham Lincoln spoke at the Wisconsin Fair in 1859, a year before he became President. He said fairs “bring us together, and make us better acquainted and better friends than we otherwise would be. …They make more pleasant, and more strong, and more durable, the bond of social and political union among us.”
We wanted to share this experience with you – our partners and community here in North Macedonia. We hope that tonight, as we talk, play games, and eat some delicious food, we can celebrate our friendship and cooperation, and reflect on the social and political bonds that link us.
For over 25 years, the citizens of North Macedonia have wanted to see the country take its place in Western institutions. This year, that aspiration will become a reality. The United States is looking forward to welcoming North Macedonia as the 30th member of NATO in the coming months, and we strongly support the EU opening accession talks as soon as possible.
As a member of NATO, North Macedonia will permanently enhanceits relationship with the United States and NATO members. We will not just be friends and partners; we will be Allies, connected through our shared commitment to peace, security, and prosperity. There is no stronger bond than this. We saw this bond in action this past month at the Decisive Strike exercise at Krivolak, where our soldiers worked together to establish common communications and operations, preparing to jointly face future threats.
The ties that bind the United States and North Macedonia also extend to business, culture, education, and social ties. Citizens of both our countries want the same things. As America’s founding fathers said in the Declaration of Independence, all people have a right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. To achieve these requires a government that responds to citizens’ needs and concerns, and that listens to citizens.
Over the coming months, from Peoria to Bangor to Boise to Tallahassee, Americans will enjoy local traditions and local treats at county and state fairs. They will also look for opportunities to talk with their government officials – mayors, senators, and, this year, presidential candidates. County fairs are great occasions for politicians to digest – not only hot dogs – but a lot of citizen ideas, praise, and criticism, too! And that’s what citizens expect them to do.
Over the three years I’ve served here in North Macedonia, I’ve seen citizens of this country increasingly speak out, increasingly demand that government work for the people, and increasingly reject those who would abuse their office and steal from the people. These three years have been a period of dynamic change in North Macedonia that put you on a path towards stability and prosperity. But a democracy is never finished. There is always more work to be done for the benefit of the people of the country.
It has been an honor for me and for all of us at the Embassy to work with you during this period of change and progress. We are proud the U.S. Embassy has supported North Macedonia’s efforts to strengthen democracy, to not just write good laws but enforce them, to build a modern economy, and to make the country and region more secure. We will continue to work with you as you strive for your own “more perfect union,” to coin a phrase from the U.S. constitution. You are in a period of great opportunity and great potential, and as your ally and friend, we look forward to continuing our cooperation to help you realize your citizens’ ambitions.
Before I finish, I want to take a moment to recognize our sponsors, whom we have recognized on our display. We could not have organized this excellent party without you. I also want to thank Lea and AntiArt for the fantastic music, and Tamara and Mikel for beautifully singing the national anthems! And finally I want to thank Shalom Konstantino, our event coordinator, and the entire staff of the U.S. Embassy for once again putting on this incredible event. You are truly amazing.
I thank all of you for coming out tonight to celebrate with us. Enjoy the fair! Уживајте! Mbrëmje të këndshme!