Text: M.Zisso; Photo: Lukáš Bíba
On the occasion of the 247th Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America, H.E. Mr. Bijan Sabet, Ambassador of the United States of America hosted a special reception at his beautiful Prague residence. Experience the all-American atmosphere of the event through our photo reportage and selected parts of Ambassador’s welcome speech.
Senate President Vystrčil, Distinguished guests.
Thank you for joining me – along with my wife, Lauren, and our children – to celebrate the 247th anniversary of the United States of America’s independence.
To me, what makes this occasion so special is that it is not just about how we celebrate. Sure, we Americans love an excuse to throw a backyard party and grill up some burgers. But it is about what we celebrate: a shared commitment to freedom, democracy, justice, equality, and equity. And in that regard, our two countries could not have more in common. It’s not just a shared belief in lofty ideas. It’s a shared commitment to making those ideas real.
You see, Independence Day – in its essence – is a celebration of our continuing effort to form a more perfect union. Freedom is not just something we earned in 1776 or 1989 – on July 4th, or November 17th, or any other day. It’s something we have to reaffirm, day after day, year after year.
As Václav Havel once said: “Vision is not enough; it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps; we must step up the stairs.” And for so much of our histories, Americans and Czechs have been scaling the stairs together. And though I’ve only spent five months in this country, I have been so inspired by Czechs I meet every day.
During those five months, I’ve met Czech firefighters who pulled survivors from the rubble following the devastating earthquake in Turkey; activists fighting for LGBTQ rights and gender equality; Roma advocates combating discrimination; and entrepreneurs who have reminded me of the same energy I saw as a tech investor in Silicon Valley.
And as Ukraine fights for its own freedom, not only were you the first nation to send heavy weapons, you also provided safe haven to more refugees per capita than any other country. I’m deeply impressed by the vibrant Czech civil society and the NGOs that find new ways every day to help the brave Ukrainian people as they defend their homes and their families, and fight for the future.
I can’t wait to meet even more of you as we continue to expand our relationship through people-to-people exchanges, commercial cooperation, and new frontiers like energy, science, cyber, health, and space.
Everywhere I go, I am in awe of this beautiful country. As an amateur photographer, I’ve found endless subjects during my evening strolls up and down Prague’s cobblestone streets.
I’ve pedaled the paths of Bohemia to commemorate the U.S. military helping liberate this country from the Nazis. I sipped coffee at Café Savoy, where Madeleine Albright and Václav Havel reflected on the choices leaders make when fighting for independence.
I’ve skied in the north, toured parts of Moravia, and visited Brno. And at every turn, I’ve experienced your incredible kindness, remarkable history, and delicious food. I think the only one having more fun than me is our dog, Sam.
I could not be more grateful for the warm welcome you have given my family here in the Czech Republic. It means so much to move across an ocean and still feel like we’re home. “Mám knedlík v krku” – I have a dumpling in my throat.
I want to close with some thank you’s. Thanks to our event partners for their support of this celebration. Thanks to the amazing Residence Staff. And thanks to my Embassy team and their families, for making this event and everything we do every day, possible.
And thank you all for joining us on this beautiful summer evening to celebrate our independence and our connectedness. Here’s to vision and venture, to not simply staring up the steps, but to stepping up the stairs.