Remarks by U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Ms. Kerri Hannan U.S. Independence Day Celebration – June 29, 2017

Remarks by U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, a.i.

Ms. Kerri Hannan

U.S. Independence Day Celebration – June 29, 2017

6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Ladies and gentlemen, representatives of the government and royal family of Luxembourg, members of the diplomatic corps, business and civil society leaders, media professionals, educators, artists, students, friends of the U.S. Embassy, and honored guests…gudden ovente and wëlkomm !

My name is Kerri Hannan and I have the privilege as the Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy to welcome you to our celebration of the 241st birthday of the United States of America.  I arrived in Luxembourg just this week with my wife Christina and our son Bodhi, and we are looking forward to getting to know all of you and your beautiful country over the next three years.  We were, coincidentally, here last year on your National Day and we fell in love with Luxembourg.  We are so happy to be back and posted to the Embassy for the next three years.  Mostly because I want to work on my Lëtzebeurgesch and sample the local cuisine.  I must admit I can’t wait to try some thuringer, Kachkéis, and of course, a few glasses of Cremant.  I am also profoundly honored to be part of an embassy that has been at the heart of our efforts to enhance and deepen our close bonds of friendship.

This year, for the 241st time, we celebrate the anniversary of the signing of America’s Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.  We also mark the 100th anniversary of the first ever jazz recording, which you will hear later this evening.  Duke Ellington once said, “Jazz is a good barometer of freedom:  in its beginnings, the United States spawned certain ideals of freedom and independence, through which, eventually, jazz was evolved.”  Tonight we celebrate that freedom and independence through jazz as we welcome Luxembourg’s own jazz musician, Ben Konen, and his talented quintet to perform American jazz for us this evening. Thank you also to the art teachers and student artists who eagerly took on the challenge of designing our invitation for tonight to reflect the joy of jazz.  You can see all of their entries on display here this evening and congratulations to winner Julia Szalay from Lycee Aline Mayrich.

You honor us this evening with your presence and we are proud and grateful to count you as close partners and friends in our ongoing mission of nurturing the longstanding relationship that exists between the United States and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.   Each of you has a unique connection to the United States, the Embassy and the American people.  It is customary to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries with our friends and family so thank you for being here to celebrate with us.

Just as the signers of the Declaration of Independence pledged their futures to a nation dedicated to liberty and the inalienable rights of its citizens, so too has the United States, along with her allies like Luxembourg.  We have pledged to work together, to forge bonds of mutual understanding, respect, and shared democratic values that guide us in a constant quest for a future that is more just and peaceful.  And while that may sound idealistic, our shared history and experiences demonstrate to us that real progress can be made when we work together.

What unites us is far stronger than what divides us.  These shared values – of democracy, freedom, and human rights – will continue to be the foundation of our friendship and our commitment to each other.  Our relationship, as allies and as friends, will only continue to grow and flourish.

Now, I have not been in Luxembourg long – only four days to be exact – but everywhere I turn I hear about the warm history between our two nations.  I know that 5076 American soldiers, including General Patton, are buried just 10 minutes from here, and I know that Luxembourg has not forgotten this history.  For me, this commitment – this memory – is personal. My own grandfather served in WWII here in Europe, flying with the Army Air Corps.  His story is my heritage – and has had a profound influence on my life.  I am deeply grateful to be here and to carry on the work of those that came before me – to continue to forge the enduring bonds of peace and friendship that we share. And I know that so many of you have similar stories and I eagerly look forward to hearing them.

I am also grateful to be here with you – your presence embodies our relationship, in all its forms, and it truly inspires me and all of us at U.S. Embassy Luxembourg, the entire team.  We were especially proud to have worked with the government of Luxembourg to host the visit of our Secretary of State last July. As he met with Prime Minister Bettel and with the hereditary Grand Duke, as he biked the incredibly gorgeous Luxembourg countryside with Foreign Minister Asselborn and Andy Schleck, and as he walked the streets of the city and personally greeted the people of Luxembourg, we once again celebrated the friendship of our countries.  From this visit to the daily work we do to further cooperation between our governments, to encourage the growth of our bilateral economic ties, and to build bridges through educational and cultural exchanges, together we ensure that our relationship continues to grow and thrive. Thank you for being a part of this important effort.

I also want to take a moment to thank our sponsors, listed on the sponsor board, for their continued generous support of our Independence Day celebration.  Without them, this evening would not be possible – so from all of us, thank you.

I also offer a big thank you to to my team here at Embassy Luxembourg.  These events take a tremendous amount of planning and work and regrouping at the last minute when things like weather interfere with the best laid plans.  So thank you.

And finally to you, our guests, please accept, once again, our gratitude for your presence this evening.

I invite you now to enjoy some classic American cuisine and sample some our fabulous beverages – we are lucky to have craft beer from three of America’s most talented artisanal brewers, American wine, and of course, a new favorite of mine – Luxembourgish cremant. With that, I say in my humble Lëtzebeurgesch,  “Prost an  Villmols  merci.”