Remarks by Director Stephen M. Young at the American Institute in Taiwan's July Fourth Reception
OT0611E | Date: 2006-07-03
Foreign Minister Huang, distinguished guests, AIT colleagues, ladies and gentlemen:
On behalf of the American Institute in Taiwan, I want to welcome you today to this celebration of America's two hundred and thirtieth birthday.
For 230 years, Americans on the Fourth of July have celebrated the founding of the American nation - and the core values on which America's first leaders established the United States - freedom and democracy. Today we look back proudly at what they accomplished, and we somehow imagine that their work progressed smoothly. It did not. It was a struggle of trial and error, often accompanied by sharp differences of opinion among the great men whom historians now call our "Founding Fathers."
Tomorrow in the United States, Americans throughout the country will have picnics with potato salad, barbeque hamburgers and hotdogs, watch parades in small towns, and marvel over the brilliance of fireworks over our nation's capital. Americans will also hear the national anthem and see flags flying proudly, all reminders of the great experiment known as the United States of America, and how that experiment has resulted in the economic prosperity, and cultural and geographic diversity of our great nation.
As many of you know, I first lived in Taiwan as a child in the early 1960's. I have returned four times throughout my life, and have witnessed an amazing transformation on this beautiful island. Today the people of Taiwan can also look on the amazing economic achievements of the last 40 years, recognize their rich cultural diversity, and visit beautiful ocean beaches or 13,000 foot mountains. But they can also look proudly at the establishment of the values which Americans will celebrate tomorrow - freedom and democracy. Recognizing the wisdom and ingenuity of this island's people to handle any and all challenges to their advantage, I remain optimistic about Taiwan's future.
Although hotel rules preclude setting off fireworks, and we do not have a parade, we do invite you today to eat hamburgers, hotdogs and potato salad, and to celebrate with us the many shared values we have in common. Mr. Minister, please allow me to propose a toast to the continued friendship of our two peoples, the continued vibrancy of our two lands, and the continued good health of our two leaders.