It is my absolute pleasure to congratulate all Liberians on your 174th Independence Day! The United States and Liberia have much in common, including celebrating the independence of our longstanding, vibrant democracies just weeks apart.
In a separate message, President Biden has expressed his own congratulations to the Liberian people: “The United States-Liberia relationship is unique and one of our oldest, and the American and Liberian people share many of the same values, including upholding democracy, respect for human rights, and pursuit of economic prosperity. Working together, we can combat global challenges, such as fighting COVID-19 and climate change, as well as advance our mutual interests, like strengthening democratic institutions and expanding bilateral trade.”
As the United States knows so well, upholding these shared values takes constant effort and a renewed commitment to ensure equal opportunity for all. We are not perfect – we must continually ask ourselves difficult questions. As a government: Are we putting the needs and ambitions of our citizens first? Are we doing so with an eye towards equality and inclusion, and an ear towards the most underserved communities? How can we drive a dynamic economy while also making sure that everyone gets a fair chance to benefit from the prosperity? Are we doing enough to ensure the next generation is better off than this one?
As we have since the time of Abraham Lincoln, the United States works side-by-side with Liberians as we all strive to address these questions. Whether it is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, or USAID partnering with the Ministry of Health and private clinics to stem this current wave of COVID-19; or the Millennium Challenge Corporation leading the reconstruction of the Mt. Coffee Hydropower plant; or the Department of Defense working alongside the Armed Forces of Liberia to be partners for good; or the Mandela Washington Fellows connecting virtually with U.S. universities this summer to learn skills to benefit their communities here; or the dozens of other connections that Americans and Liberians make every day: our actions consistently demonstrate that we deeply value our relationship with Liberia and the Liberian people.
History shows that together, our two countries have inspired each other to achieve more equal, just, and prosperous societies. The first African American citizen to address the U.S. Congress, Henry Highland Garnet, eventually became our Consul General to Liberia, and his remains are buried in Monrovia. The first Black head of state to be an overnight guest at the White House or address the U.S. Congress was President Edwin Barclay of Liberia. The first Black Ambassador in U.S. history, Edward Dudley, was our Ambassador to Liberia.
To echo the words of Secretary of State Blinken: “The United States proudly stands with our Liberian partners as you celebrate Independence Day. We remain committed to our partnership with Liberia as it strives to strengthen democratic principles and enhance economic growth and investment.”
Enjoy the day!
Ambassador Michael A. McCarthy