Posted by: U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt
Last week, the United States marked the 239th anniversary of its independence – and I was lucky enough to celebrate the Fourth of July not once, but twice! First, on July 2 – the day the Second Continental Congress voted for independence in 1776 – I was delighted to welcome a broad range of luminaries from Ukrainian government, civil society, and business to my home for the Embassy’s annual Independence Day reception.
Our Marine Security Guards presented the colors in their best dress, visiting members of the U.S. Army Choir sang a moving rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, and Ruslana rocked the Ukrainian national anthem like no one else can. It was a great opportunity to visit with friends and colleagues, enjoy a taste of home, and celebrate the core values the United States and Ukraine share. Plus, I got to wear the really great American flag vyshyvanka that was given to me as a gift by our friends at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On Saturday, the actual Fourth of July, I joined the American Chamber of Commerce for its annual Independence Day Picnic at the Kyiv International School – another fun event with great company, food, and music by our Embassy band, Duck and Cover.
The Fourth of July has always been my favorite American holiday. Beyond the fireworks, the barbecuing, and the beer, it’s fundamentally about democracy, rule of law, and the principles of freedom. For the early United States, this was no easy road. In our own Revolution, we had to fight for these principles through hard times, times when democracy seemed like it might be a failed experiment. At a time when Ukraine is challenged as never before, our Independence Day was a time to look ahead to what Ukraine stands to gain at the end of its own hard road: the self-determination and true democracy that was the central demand of those who stood on the Maidan.
I’m excited to see what the future holds as we work together to accomplish these shared goals. The United States is proud to be a partner as both we and Ukraine strive to perfect our democracies, and we are grateful to have the chance to share this holiday with the people of Ukraine.