Virtual celebration of the 244th Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America

Speech of Ambassador Michael P. Pelletier


Good afternoon friends and colleagues…

Ladies and gentlemen, far and near:  thank you for joining, or rather logging on, as we celebrate the 244th anniversary of the independence of the United States.  Despite the physical distance that separates us today, we thought it was important that we find a way to come together to show that the ties between the U.S. and Comoros are as strong as ever.

This year, around the world, Independence Day celebrations for many of us – notably here in Comoros and in the US –  will be different from those in the past:  changing from barbecues with friends to virtual toasts; from patriotic face paint to protective face coverings, from festive fireworks to smaller celebrations at home with family …

Last year, as I celebrated my first July 4th with you in your beautiful country, I recognized that we would face challenges together.  And, here we are today, in the midst of a global pandemic – one of the biggest crises of our generation.  I would like to take this opportunity to remember those who have lost their lives to COVID-19, Americans, Comorians, and others.   I would also like to recognize and offer my most sincere appreciation to all the brave health workers and other first responders working tirelessly on the front lines during these uncertain, difficult times.

In the midst of this health crisis, we also face huge economic challenges.  In the US in particular, we are witnessing a strong public demand for justice and equality – a demand for us to live up to our founding values and principles – that we are all created equal with certain inalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as is enshrined in our Declaration of Independence.

So while July 4th is a time to celebrate, it is also an opportunity to reflect on those values and principles to which we aspire, as we strive together to make ours an ever more perfect union.

In 1776 and in 1975, our two countries faced uncertainty with courage and bold visions, as we moved forward into our independence.  Now, in 2020, we again face great uncertainty due to the pandemic and all its effects, yet we must continue to move forward, together, and with courage, and with a bold vision to make the world better, stronger, and more resilient.

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.  By working together and building on our strengths, we will continue to accomplish great things; and we will emerge stronger and more resilient, rising above doubt and cynicism.  It reminds me of the Comorian proverb:  “:  “Sowo la mdzima wa yili;” …  Together, there are no challenges we can’t overcome.

President Trump recently reached out to President Azali to emphasize that “we remain committed to shared values of democracy, peace, and prosperity.”  He thanked the people of Comoros for their “continued cooperation in the region, particularly in the area of maritime security.”  Today, it is my sincere pleasure to echo this appreciation and commitment.  I look forward to strengthening the enduring partnership between our two countries for years to come; to foster collaboration and friendship as we promote education, food security, and good health through the work of our Peace Corps volunteers who, like many of our colleagues, are eager to return to this beautiful country, as conditions allow.

Friends, let us remember that out of uncertainty, comes opportunity.  Just as our founding fathers were uncertain what the future would bring on July 4, 1776, and just as Comoros was uncertain of what lay ahead on July 6, 1975, our nations persevered through this uncertainty, in view of a better life for all.  President Abraham Lincoln once said that “the best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”  So let us not run away from uncertainty, but embrace it head on, together, one day at a time.   As the old adage goes, “this too shall pass…”

In that spirit, I would like to make a toast:

“To friendship and the road ahead, which we will walk together, with courage and conviction and optimism for the future.”