Independence Day Message 2008: “Celebrating the Fourth of July”

Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer
July 3, 2008

As U.S. Ambassador to Japan, I am delighted to extend Fourth of July greetings to my fellow Americans living and working in Japan and to our Japanese hosts. For Americans, the Fourth of July is a day for celebration and expressions of gratitude. All across the United States, our fellow citizens will come together for parades, barbeques, fireworks, and readings from our Declaration of Independence. From the spectacular Independence Day Parade and National Symphony Orchestra concert on the Mall in Washington, D.C. to the countless heart-warming events down the Main Streets of small towns from coast to coast, it is a grand celebration, and a great day to be an American.

On each anniversary of the adoption of our Declaration of Independence, we give thanks for the tremendous courage and conviction of our Founders, 56 brave men who signed their names to that bold creed of freedom drafted by Thomas Jefferson two hundred and thirty-two years ago. These men and the courageous citizen-soldiers of our Continental Army, who took up the fight for freedom and independence, set the course of our nation and changed the history of the world.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Those cherished words, so inspirational to the human spirit in 1776, continue to inspire us today. 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 and maintain our liberty. We also honor those who serve our nation as we support freedom around the globe. We aspire to a world in which all citizens may enjoy the blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

We also express gratitude for our many allies and friends who advance our shared ideals of freedom, justice, and democracy. The freedoms that Americans value and enjoy today, such as free speech, a free press, freedom of worship, and the rule of law, are also highly valued in Japan. They form the basis of an enduring and productive partnership between our two countries. Shared values are at the basis of the U.S.-Japan alliance, which is the linchpin of both our foreign policies in the Pacific.

For over three years now, I have had the honor of serving as the Ambassador of the United States to Japan. I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the Japanese people, our gracious hosts for their continued friendship and support. May both our great countries continue to enjoy the blessings of liberty.