Remarks by Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt at a Reception Celebrating U.S. Independence Day
U.S. Embassy Kyiv Ukraine shared on Facebook:
'Thank you very much, Christie Ann. Isn’t she terrific?
Good afternoon, everybody. It’s my great honor and pleasure to welcome you to the celebration of the 240th anniversary of the independence of the United States of America. Or you could call this the friendliest Canada Day reception that the United States has ever hosted. To our allies to the north.
I would like to begin by acknowledging just a few of the people who are here today with us to celebrate, in particular Deputy Prime Minister Kubiv, Deputy Prime Minister Klympush-Tsyntsadze, and General Muzhenko. I won’t name all of our other friends and partners from the Ukrainian Government who are here for fear of overlooking somebody. But I would like to offer two other recognitions.
The first is to the four American army soldiers who traveled to be with us here today from Yavoriv, where they are part of the international mission to train and equip the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Thank you, guys.
And the second is somebody who missed my first two 4th of July receptions in Kyiv, but is here today, and is a marvelous representation of the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian people that I have come so much to admire over the past three years. And that’s Nadiya Savchenko. We are glad you are here.
I want to offer some quick thanks first to my wife Mary who did a lot of the work for today. Also to Jeanne and the team from the Embassy that she lead and did all of the organizing for today. And finally to our many corporate sponsors without whom we could not so well represent the United States of America.
This is my third and, likely, last Independence Day in Ukraine. So, I wanted to think a little bit about what I would make the focus of my brief remarks today. And I finally found inspiration in one of our Broadway musicals. Pretty much the hottest ticket on Broadway today is a musical called Hamilton. It’s a big Broadway production with songs and dancing that tells the story of one of our Founding Fathers. And if you haven’t heard about it already, you will, because it’s becoming a major cultural phenomenon in the United States and beyond.
And as I looked at it, I realized that there is a lot about Alexander Hamilton that is relevant to Ukraine today. Alexander Hamilton joined a volunteer militia in 1775 to fight for the independence of his country. And I see Minister Avakov there, and a few others – General Hrytsak – who I think will appreciate the relationship to your own volunteer batallions – and Speaker Parubiy.
Alexander Hamilton fought with the Continental Army and eventually became an aide to General George Washington. But after the war, he became a politician and a leader of our country. He became our first Secretary of Treasury. He was the founder of our Coast Guard. And in a way that Deputy Prime Minister Kubiv, Minister Danylyuk and few others of you will appreciate, he became extremely unpopular by proposing a tax on whiskey. But his most important historical role was as one of the authors of our Constitution and one of the great intellects who helped shape the relationship between the states and the citizens in the United States. So, the Broadway musical, that the poster for it is down here by the candy, is really the story of that debate in the 1780s in the United States around our Constitution and the Federalist Papers. Now, if I was really brave or inherited my mother’s musical talents, now is the part where I would sing something from the Hamilton musical. Or I’d have asked Marcus to do it for me. But I don’t think he is ready for that. So, I am just going to read one line from the songs that go with the musical that I think captures what I feel about Ukraine today.
Hamilton asks in song 'What is the legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden that you never get to see.' And as I come into the last couple of months in my time in Ukraine, that’s an idea that strikes me as a pretty good summation of where things stand.
So, I would ask everybody to grab a glass and join me in a very quick toast. To the idea of America. To Ukraine’s founding fathers and mothers. To our militaries. And to the future of the partnership between our two great countries. Slava Ukraini. Slava America.'