Naples, July 6, 2017
Good evening everyone and welcome dear friends! Thank you for joining us on this special occasion – the celebration of the 241st anniversary of the independence of the Unites States of America.
First, I want to thank the Italian and American civilian and military representatives who are here with us tonight. We honor your service and dedication to country and people. It’s a special honor for me to welcome this evening the Prefect of Naples Carmela Pagano, the Mayor of Naples Luigi De Magistris, as well as Admiral Michelle Howard and Vice-Admiral Christopher Grady. I also want to thank our sponsors: Coca Cola, Culligan, Renaissance Hotel Marriott, Interbrau, Dunham and Smith, HAM Gourmet Burger, AVPN Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the Consortium of Mozzarella di Bufala DOP, Confetti D’Alessandro, the American Chamber of Commerce Abruzzo and Molise, Harley Davidson Napoli, the ALA Corporation, for their generous contributions to this evening’s celebration. Finally, we thank the U.S. Navy Band for providing the music tonight. We’re looking forward to a great party.
During my first year in Naples, the United States, Italy, and Europe, generally, have experienced some significant political changes. Despite some new faces and new approaches to our mutual challenges, however, one thing has not changed: the fundamental friendship between Americans and southern Italians that we also celebrate here tonight. The enduring bond between Americans and Italians continues to be based on a shared spirit of generosity and compassion, a culture of tolerance and respect for others, a mutual love of liberty, and a long history of partnership in business, the arts, science, and politics.
In conclusion, I thank the Neapolitan people and the whole of the Mezzogiorno for the warm hospitality that they have always offered to the consulate, the U.S. military and their families, and to the many American tourists that visit your shores. You have so much to be proud of and appreciate. It is a privilege for me to continue our close cooperation and to celebrate our independence and friendship with so many supporters of the United States this evening.
As a special tribute to this friendship, we are very happy to share with you a special dessert made by Neapolitan bakery Poppella. A selection of their famous “snowflakes” (fiocchi di neve) have been arranged, in different colors and designs, to reproduce the Stars and Stripes, our flag and a symbol of the United States.
So I hope everyone will enjoy tonight’s celebration. Thank you and Happy Independence Day!