Distinguished Guest, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen!
Thank you all for coming today to help us celebrate the 238th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America.
Although that event happened long ago, for Americans of every generation since, the principles laid out in that document — the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — are as relevant today as they were 238 years ago.
Americans have fought for these principles, even against each other. And many peoples around the world have embraced these principles just as Americans embraced them from civilizations much older than America.
These principles know no nationality. They are not uniquely American. They are part of our common human heritage whether we are in the United States or in Uzbekistan.
Therefore, today we join together to celebrate not just a peculiarly American holiday but a set of principles we all share and to which we aspire.
My friends, this is my fourth celebration of America’s Independence since I have been Ambassador of the United States to Uzbekistan.
In all likelihood, this will be my last, and therefore today is the last time I will have this opportunity to address so many friends and colleagues I have here in Uzbekistan all in one place.
Although as a diplomat for the last 32 years I have served in many countries, I have found it never easy to leave any country in which I have lived. That is especially true for me here in Uzbekistan.
Over these years, I have grown to love this country and its people almost as much as my own.
I have travelled to every corner of this marvelous land – to its mountains and deserts, along its rivers and valleys, to its fabled cities and even its tiniest villages. Everywhere I met only friendliness and hospitality and great curiosity about my country.
Although I am proud of the many advancements made in the relations between the United States and Uzbekistan during my time as ambassador, I know much more needs to be done to achieve the great potential in our relationship.
I am glad the dynamic in our relationship is positive and the scope of our relationship has expanded and deepened.
But, I must recognize over my years here, the people of Uzbekistan have given me far more than I could have given them.
You have taught me your ancient history, your beautiful language and poetry, your entrancing music, your deep family values, your love of your children and your profound respect for the elderly, your deep religious faith and tolerance, your strength in the midst of adversity, your unique artistic talent and superb craftsmanship, your love of freedom and your sacrifice for freedom, your hard work and your sense of humor and of course your love of food and your spontaneous joy in dancing.
The memories I take away will always be a part of me. Uzbekistan will always be a part of me, of my life and my dreams.
From the depth of my heart and soul, Thank you Uzbekistan!
May you always live in peace and in the sunlight of which you enjoy in such abundance!
Thank you for your kind attention.