June 30, 2017

Celebrating American Independence and Values Around the World

By Megan Rabbitt

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, Americans across the country are looking forward to barbecues, fireworks, and hopefully, time spent with family and friends. But what about those working in the 275 embassies and diplomatic posts around the world– how will they celebrate Independence Day thousands of miles from home?

By doing what they do best: sharing American culture, traditions, and values with those living outside of the United States’ borders.

Our nation’s diplomats are on the frontlines when it comes to advancing U.S. interests abroad– a mission that often takes many forms. But in everything they do– whether they are empowering local communities to lift themselves out of poverty, forging partnerships with local governments, or building mutual understanding and goodwill– our diplomats make sure the United States remains emblematic of that shining city on a hill.

From baseball, to picnics, and poignant speeches, here’s a snapshot of how U.S. embassies have celebrated the Fourth in every corner of the globe.

Guatemala

America’s favorite pastime came to the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala, where the U.S. ambassador hosted a baseball-themed reception in honor of “Día de la Independencia.” From handing out souvenir baseballs, to having guests take photos in front of a mock baseball diamond and stadium, it was a fitting– and fun– way to share a slice of American culture with our friends in Guatemala.

Tanzania
For the Americans in Tanzania, the U.S. Embassy hosted a traditional American picnic reminiscent of those at home. Tanzanian dignitaries were invited to enjoy a Fourth of July celebration complete with American folk music and miniature hamburgers and hotdogs. It was there that the U.S. Ambassador delivered a moving speech reflecting on the democratic values upon which our country was founded. And in a truly poignant example of the reverence for our core American values around the globe, the Tanzanian speaker who followed simply remarked that his countrymen “want to have what you have. We want to be who you are.”

Vietnam

In Vietnam, the U.S. ambassador used the occasion to praise the strong bonds our countries share, stating “it never fails to impress me how far the relationship between our two countries has come; how we’ve managed to address our apprehensions and heal old wounds on the way to creating a vibrant partnership.” The ambassador went on to explain that in his view, this partnership– which just decades ago, in the midst of the Vietnam War, would have seemed unimaginable – is an “inseparable part of what makes America beautiful.”