Prime Minister Abrahamyan, Foreign Minister Nalbandian, Deputy Prime Minister Gabrielyan, other ministers, fellow diplomatic colleagues, and good friends thank you for joining us from all over Armenia this evening as we celebrate the 239th anniversary of the independence of the United States of America. You honor us with your presence at this event that also celebrates the strong bonds of friendship between the U.S. and Armenia.
On July 4, 1776, a small group of patriots declared that Americans would live free of tyranny, with freedom to think, express ourselves, and determine how to live our lives. Now, 239 years later, our improbable experiment in democracy lives on, as do those freedoms we Americans hold dear.
We celebrate another birthday this year – a little less old. This year is the 10th birthday of our beautiful Embassy facility here on Lake Yerevan, which opened in May 2005. But the real strength of our Embassy, like any organization, is its people. We are extremely fortunate to have dedicated, informed Armenian colleagues here at the Embassy without whom we American diplomats would not be able to perform our jobs. Tonight, as we mark the 10th anniversary of our Embassy compound, I would like to recognize our ten-longest serving local employees: nine of whom are from the Embassy and one from our Peace Corps office.
As I read the names, please hold your applause until all have reached the stage:
Colleagues, each of you has over 20 years of service with the United States government, 20 years of working to strengthen U.S.-Armenian ties. I would like to thank you for all the hard work and dedication you have demonstrated to this Embassy and to building U.S.-Armenian cooperation throughout your careers. We are incredibly grateful for your service.
This July, the Embassy is showcasing the theme of American culture, and I think you will all agree that over the past century, one of the most vivid expressions of our culture has been our film industry, exemplified by a little place in California called Hollywood.
To kick off the movie theme, we are delighted to welcome tonight the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia. Their program this evening, “Hollywood Non Stop”, is composed of songs, many by famous American composers, from a variety of films spanning the past few decades. I would like to thank Ruben Asatryan, the conductor of the Orchestra, as well as of course the talented musicians of the State Youth Orchestra, for preparing such a wonderful show for us tonight. I know we are in for a treat.