Remarks by AIT Director William A. Stanton at AIT Independence Day Reception
Date: 07/03/2012(As Prepared for Delivery)
AIT Official Text #: OT-1205E
National Security Council Secretary-General Hu, Minister of Interior Lee, Foreign Minister Yang, ladies and gentlemen: Good afternoon to all!
Thank you all for coming this afternoon to join with us to celebrate the 236th birthday of the United States of America. We are honored to have so many distinguished guests with us to mark this historic day.
On July 4, 1776, our founding fathers came together and risked their lives for freedom and the universal truth that all governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed.
From that day until now, people around the world, both near and far from us, have been fighting for freedom and just government.
The people of Taiwan know how precious freedom is and it is the fundamental shared value that brings together Americans and Taiwanese.
Having served around the world in countries that are free and countries that are not free, I can frankly say that I prefer celebrating this day in a free land like Taiwan.
For more than six decades, our friendship, shared values and cooperation have brought out the best in both of us. Working alone, neither of us could have accomplished what we have done together in so many different fields, including education, health, science and technology, security and trade.
Today, however, is a bittersweet moment for me. After 34 years in the Foreign Service and 3 years as AIT Director, this is my last official 4th of July celebration.
It seems like yesterday that I arrived in Taiwan as AIT Director. Where did the 3 years go? They went to strengthening our ties every single day, and I am proud to say we have had some great successes, such as Taiwan’s Visa Waiver Program nomination, record-setting arms sales, senior level visits by U.S. officials, and several fabulous exhibitions.
I have had the privilege to meet with great people all over Taiwan, from Taipei to Pingtung, from Hualien to Matsu and in many, many places in between. In fact, I have enjoyed living in Taiwan so much that I have decided to stay on here to teach at the Taipei American School.
In that spirit of not wanting to leave this beautiful island and its wonderful people, let me offer a toast to the people of Taiwan and the people of the United States, to our shared values, and to our enduring friendship — to the people of Taiwan and the people of the United States.