Remarks by Ambassador Alan Leventhal
U.S. Independence Day Celebration
August 31, 2022
Excellencies, honored guests, Friends of the United States – Good evening and welcome to Rydhave.
Sherry and I are thrilled you are here on this wonderful evening to celebrate the 246th birthday of the United States.
I would like to thank all those who made this night possible:
- The catering and support staff.
- Our American and Danish sponsors. You can see the banner that lists the companies that helped make tonight possible through their extraordinary generosity. Thank you.
- Thank you to our terrific Embassy team for all their efforts.
- And a special thank you to VedLyd for their renditions of the national anthems-
- And the Air Force Band who flew in from Germany, for tonight’s fabulous entertainment.
- Thank you to all!
Sherry and I arrived in Copenhagen nearly two months ago. We have been received by the Danish community with great warmth. To all of you – please know how grateful we are to you for your warm welcome and hospitality.
The United States, like the Kingdom of Denmark, understands the value each person brings to society. We chose tonight’s theme to not only celebrate America’s founding, but to also celebrate the diversity of cultures and people that give American its strength.
Every Independence Day, I am inspired as I read the Declaration of Independence printed in my local paper. The words of Thomas Jefferson always fill me with pride to be an American. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
President Biden reminded us in his Independence Day address this year that the American journey has never been a simple one.
American has faced many challenges on this journey to fulfill the ideal of our Declaration of Independence. It would take until 1920 for women to obtain voting rights, and for some Native Americans until 1924. Segregation for African-Americans was not ended until the 1950s and full legal rights were not assured until the 1960s with the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. The great strides forward we have made as a nation and a people since that July day in 1776 were possible because we fight for our ideals.
And we do so with an unyielding belief that as individuals and together as a nation we have the ability to change the world for the better.
For me, being American means embracing a national identity of optimism and opportunity, grounded in our fundamental belief in freedom, which is an integral part of the American identity that we are free to choose our destiny, to express ourselves freely, to participate in our political process, to practice our faith, and to love who we love.
The United States and the Kingdom of Denmark have a close partnership that is grounded in these same shared ideals an unbroken partnership dating back to 1801 when the United States and Denmark established diplomatic relations.
We share common values and stand together to:
- Hold countries accountable when they contravene international laws and we support partners and allies in the face of aggression.
- We protect human rights, promote diversity, and work to end discrimination based on gender, race, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.
- We drive sustainability and open markets and free trade around the world;
- We tackle the vast challenge of climate change in the Arctic and beyond.
- We work together to advance scientific research and exploration.
- The world is better off when we act together as allies, partners, and friends.
Today, these ideals are being tested across the globe.
We stand together with the people of Ukraine, as they defend their democracy against Putin’s brutal invasion.
All of you here today are important partners of the United States. My colleagues and I at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission look forward to working with you to advance our partnership and the common values and goals that underpin it.
Our partnership has never been stronger or more important in our 221 years of diplomatic ties.
Thank you, and enjoy your evening.