During his greeting at the Independence Day Reception, US Ambassador to Greece George Tsounis underlined that “the best days of Greece are ahead of us” and made special reference to the Greek values and ideals of democracy, hospitality, kindness, philanthropy, ethics.
“Today, we celebrate America’s declaration of independence. We celebrate the quest of a nation and a diverse group of people – representing all walks of life, sexuality, beliefs, and faith – who were united 246 years ago and remain united by a shared dream of equality and the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness for all.
This dream of democracy was born right here in Athens. It was here that, for the first time in the history of the world, everyday citizens were empowered and ennobled as stewards of their collective destiny. They were charged with protecting the democratic rights and freedoms of their society and putting them in service to the greater good of all.
Since the golden age of Pericles, the light of this democracy has guided the world’s path forward, dispelling the darkness of tyranny however menacingly it threatened.
This dream of democracy inspired the founding of the United States. It sparked the friendship of Thomas Jefferson and Adamantios Korais. It united our peoples – as many brave Americans joined Greeks and courageously fought by their side for Greece’s independence 201 years ago, with the cry of “ Liberty or Death!”
It’s the promise we’ve shared ever since – that the flame of democracy would never die,” he said.
“Today, as a sovereign European state faces a full-on invasion so close to us, and the international rules-based order upon which our collective security and prosperity stands is challenged like never before, our countries are at the forefront of the struggle between democratic values and tyranny.
And our collective response today will determine the future of our world tomorrow.”
He added: “Prime Minister Mitsotakis was right when he said in his historic address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in May that our two countries have always been on the right side of history. And, as stewards of democracy, we have a sacred obligation to cherish and protect these democratic values we hold so dear. That does not mean that we – as countries or peoples – will always be perfect. The greatest threat to our democracies is not that we are flawed. It’s that our people might one day lose faith in our ability to heal our wounds, to rectify our inequities, or to right our wrongs as we strive to achieve a more perfect union – and to make this world a better and more just place for all.”
The US Ambassador also stressed: “We – the United States and Greece – share an uncommon spirit, a special bond and friendship forged through shared struggle, that calls on us to defend the values that led to the birth of both of our nations. That is why we have worked so successfully together to promote stability and economic prosperity throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, Western Balkans, and beyond. And I know there is much more we can do together.”