Chargé d’Affaires Kelly Degnan Celebrates Independence Day 2017

Independence Day 2017

5 luglio 2017
Villa Taverna

(As prepared for delivery)

Buona sera a tutti nostri cari amici.  It is a great honor for me to welcome you all to Villa Taverna this evening, to celebrate the 241st birthday of the United States of America.

Over the past year since we last celebrated together here, we’ve seen some transitions in America, Italy, and Europe. Those transitions brought new faces, new thinking, and sometimes different approaches, as transitions often do. What has not changed, though, is the fundamental friendship between Americans and Italians, which we are also celebrating here tonight.

We saw this strong connection between our two countries when Prime Minister Gentiloni warmly welcomed President Trump during his recent visits to Italy.  They sat together at the G7 table to discuss our shared challenges and goals with trusted allies.  Italy’s outstanding preparation of the G7 meetings created just the right conditions for our leaders to exchange views and reinforce fundamental values. We are particularly grateful to Minister Minniti and Prefect Gabrielli, Ambassador Trombetta and Ambassador Giansanti, Ambassador Guargilia, Ambassador Visconti, Ambassador Modiano, and the rest of Italy’s hard-working G7 team for their inexhaustible patience, flexibility, and collaboration in making this enormous undertaking so fruitful. Grazie e complimenti.

The past year has also demonstrated the strength of the ties between America and Italy in the face of tragedy. Once again, as we so often do, we turned to each other for help, solace, and resolve — whether combatting extremism together and condemning senseless terror attacks, or responding quickly and generously when people’s lives are devastated by natural disaster.

Having grown up in California, I know how powerful and frightening earthquakes can be. I will never forget the outpouring of compassion and assistance from Italians, Americans, Europeans, and others around the world after the devastating earthquakes that hit Amatrice, Accumoli, Norcia, and other communities across Central Italy – or the incredible determination of those who survived to rebuild their lives from the rubble.  I recently visited with two new friends from Amatrice, Bianca and Fernanda, and was profoundly moved by their faith, their hope for the future, and their simple request that we not forget them.

Today, it’s easy to understand the abiding friendship between Americans and Italians:  we share a spirit of generosity and compassion, a culture of tolerance, respect for the rule of law, and a mutual love of liberty and democracy, and a long history as transatlantic partners in business, the arts, science, and politics.

As we wait for a new ambassador to join us later this year, it is a great honor for me and the rest of the U.S. Mission to Italy to continue our close collaboration, and to celebrate America’s birthday together with so many dear friends tonight.

Special thanks also to the fabulous Embassy team that worked so hard to make this celebration such a wonderful event.

Happy Fourth of July!  Grazie a tutti, e buon divertimento.