July 4, 2016
Each year on July 4th, Americans all around the world gather with friends and family to celebrate our Independence Day, honoring the date in 1776 when our country’s founders gathered in Philadelphia to imagine a self-governing democracy where all people, having been created equal, would be entitled to life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In that era, our founding fathers boldly articulated that their American Dream would include fundamental liberties, including freedom of religion, assembly, speech, and association. Such audacious thoughts would lead Americans to overcome injustices like slavery and continue our progress towards, in the words of our Constitution, “a more perfect union.”
In my first year as U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, I am constantly reminded of the common principles our two countries share that make us natural allies and partners. We applaud the dramatic transformation made possible by Sri Lankan voters, and we appreciate the government’s efforts to uphold and protect fundamental freedoms. We support efforts to promote needed constitutional reform and national reconciliation so that all Sri Lankans can enjoy equal rights, equal opportunities, and the full benefits of post-conflict development and prosperity, regardless of their ethnicity or place of birth. As fellow democracies bound by shared beliefs in universal freedoms, U.S.-Sri Lankan relations are at a historic high.
Our Independence Day reflects our citizens’ decision to determine their own choices and future direction. It was a victory led not just by visionary leaders, but by many of their fellow citizens who fought for these freedoms. I see the same dedication in the Sri Lankan people as they seek to transform their country into a united, reconciled, peaceful, prosperous nation with equal opportunity for all, regardless of ethnicity or religion. Bound by our values and strong people-to-people ties, the United States has always stood with the people of Sri Lanka, and will work together with you to restore Sri Lanka’s rightful place as a democratic and peaceful nation, and a strong contributor to global prosperity and stability.