Independence Day, Hawaiian Style!

Posted by: U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John F. Tefft

Ambassador Tefft and Mrs. Tefft greet former President of Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk

Last Wednesday, Mariella and I had the honor to welcome over 600 Ukrainian guests to our residence for our annual Independence Day celebration. By the way, please click here to see our newly-produced brochure about the historic residence.

U.S. Marines ceremony “Post the Colors”

Keeping with our Hawaiian theme, we had a brief rain shower but the extended sun and the warmth of our guests helped maintain the good cheer throughout the celebration. We were grateful to have talented students from the Glier Kyiv Institute of Music sing the Ukrainian and American national anthems before the U.S. Marines posted the colors.

I then spoke to the audience. Here is an excerpt from my remarks:

Ambassador Tefft speaks to the audience

“Today we celebrate our independence and freedom. Today Americans pause and remember all those who have given so much to make the United States the nation that it is today. And we especially remember today all those Americans — military and civilian — who are protecting our freedom, often in dangerous places.

Ambassador Tefft and Mrs. Tefft greet former President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma

We celebrate this holiday in a typically American way. We get together with family and friends and have a party or a picnic. Mariella and I have always enjoyed picking a theme for our 4th of July party. Today we are celebrating our 50th state, America’s tropical paradise, Hawaii. Mariella and our staff have selected for you a variety of food and drink which you might have if you were at a luau in Hawaii.”

Ambassador Tefft and Mrs. Tefft speak with former President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko

I was heartened to see such a wonderful turnout of friends of the U.S. Embassy – including American citizens living in Ukraine, some of the 20,000 alumni of our exchange programs, and even the three former Presidents of Ukraine – everyone contributed to the celebration of our nation’s independence while sharing in new food, music, and drinks from Hawaii.

Speaking of our 50th state, did you know that President Obama was born in Hawaii? Please click here for the president’s remarks on July 4th.

Don’t miss Independence Day celebration photo album on Flickr.

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