On the occasion of the 242nd anniversary of US Independence, US Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink reviews a journey of his nation.
The fourth of July reminds us of the journey our nation has undertaken to build a “more perfect union”. Our Founding Fathers gave us a compass to guide this journey. On the fourth of July 1776, they declared all people were created equal, with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
We have travelled far since then. Generations of Americans have struggled and sacrificed to protect these rights. Today, it is our role and responsibility to carry their vision forward. I think it’s important to remember, even 242 years after July 4, 1776, we have a long way to go and are still learning and progressing on that journey. But, we remain committed to progress.
To recognize these journeys and this progress, the US Embassy celebrated our Independence Day by recognising a great American icon, Route 66, a symbol of the freedom of the open road.
Route 66, known as “The Mother Road”, was the first fully paved highway in the United States, but it has always been far more than just a ribbon of concrete. It connected America, all the way from the city of Chicago through cornfields in Kansas to the beaches and cities of California. Millions of Americans moved from rural areas to factory jobs in the cities. American society transformed. Route 66 granted Americans freedom to choose a new life. At its western end in Los Angeles, many Americans built a new future for themselves on the edge of the Pacific. Their stories remind us of the transitions and transformations we see every day here in Việt Nam.
The United States is committed to our comprehensive partnership with Việt Nam, and to the Indo-Pacific region. We are invested in Việt Nam’s success. We support the development of a strong, prosperous, and independent Việt Nam, today and in the future. In my short time in Việt Nam, I’ve been amazed by just how far we’ve come together. In the last two years, two American presidents have visited Việt Nam, and Việt Nam’s Prime Minister has visited Washington. We are increasing trade and investment, expanding security co-operation, enhancing people-to-people ties and educational opportunities, and co-operating closely on issues like health and clean energy – all of which signal a robust, dynamic partnership that continues to broaden and deepen in so many areas.
Of course, there is more to do to address the legacies of the past. But, through hard work and mutual respect, we have gone from former adversaries to the closest of partners and friends. That would not have happened without the trust and goodwill of our Vietnamese partners.
I am honored to be able to celebrate American Independence Day this year with the people of Việt Nam; this occasion provides us with a great opportunity to reflect on our enduring ties, our growing partnership, and our common future. — VNS