July 2, 2019
(As prepared for delivery)
Buonasera e benvenuti a Villa Taverna!
Vi ringraziamo per essere qui a celebrare con noi l’anniversario dell’indipendenza degli Stati Uniti d’America.
Nearly two and a half centuries ago, across the Atlantic Ocean, an extraordinary group of people launched an experiment – radical at the time – to create a new nation, “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
They did so by signing the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
That day, that document, drafted by Thomas Jefferson at age 33, enshrined the idea that all human beings have a right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Americans have labored long and hard since 1776 to fulfill that ideal. It took decades and a civil war to end slavery, and over a century for women to earn the right to vote.
At home and abroad, thousands of Americans have sacrificed their lives to the cause of freedom, including here, in Italy.
It is fitting, then, that tonight we celebrate this holiday together, Italians and Americans, who cherish Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Let us avail this opportunity to celebrate the leaps we have made across the centuries towards securing more equal rights for our citizens – towards forming a more perfect Union.
And let us seize the opportunity to remember:
- Freedom and Democracy are what we stand for.
- And Freedom and Democracy are not free.
And so, tonight, let us renew our commitment to work together, as closely as ever, so that this “radical experiment” that began in a small corner of the New World 243 years ago, continues to bear fruit for generations to come;
And to ensure that, in the words of President Lincoln, “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” does not perish from the earth.
Grazie mille, amici. Thank you for being here tonight.
God bless you, God bless Italy, and God bless America!