Ambassador Schieffer Offers July 4 Greetings

Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer
Independence Day Message

July 4, 2006

To our fellow Americans in Japan and to our gracious hosts, the Japanese people, the Embassy of the United States sends warm greetings on America's Independence Day.

In July of 1776, John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, that the anniversary of the Independence of America should be commemorated, "with pomp and parade... from this time forward forever more." Ever since, we have done just that - the burst of fireworks, gatherings of families and friends, and local parades mark this joyful day in cities and towns across America.

See also:

Independence Day greetings from President Bush

Today, we pause to celebrate the birth of our liberty and honor those who have sacrificed to keep America free, independent, and prosperous. Two hundred and thirty years ago, America's founders signed the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming the simple, yet radical, formulation that government must derive its power from the consent of the governed. With this, they changed the course of human history. That short document, signed on a sunny day in Philadelphia, captured the spirit of the American Revolutionary War and the hope of freedom that continues to burn around the world to this very day.

The "self-evident" truths that America's founders endorsed in the Declaration of Independence were not tailored for Americans, but rather were rights that they considered the domain of all mankind: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Generations of Americans have fought to preserve and protect these ideals for the future. On this day, Americans honor the patriots who sacrificed to achieve our liberty, and we express gratitude for our many partners around the world who advance the ideals of freedom, justice, and democracy.

The relationship between the United States and Japan has come to be one of freedom's strongest bulwarks. Just over six decades ago, we were engaged in bloody conflict, and today we work together as close friends to advance our common ideals. The United States is partnering with Japan not only to increase prosperity and protect liberty in our own nations, but also to improve lives and spread freedom around the world. From programs to improve public health systems in Africa, to initiatives to provide access to clean water in South and Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, to our historic responses to regional natural disasters, we are cooperating to build a brighter future.

The advance of democracy and prosperity in the past sixty years has been remarkable, but continued progress is not inevitable. The basic freedoms we cherish are under attack in many parts of the world, and nearly half of the global population lives under tyranny and oppression. We must not forget them. Just as in the past, advancing freedom and peace will continue to demand our courage, vision, and hard work. As President Harry Truman said on July 4, 1947, "Our goal must be - not peace in our time - but peace for all time."

Best wishes for a happy and safe Independence Day. May God continue to bless the United States of America.