July 4th Independence Day Celebration

Ambassador Mark Brzezinski’s Remarks
Warsaw July 4th Independence Day Celebration

Ambassador ’s Residence
30 June 2022


Good afternoon Everyone!!  Witamy z całego serca wszystkich Państwa!

Welcome to the Chief of Mission Residence (“the CMR” as we call it) for America’s birthday celebration.

It’s been two years since we’ve been able to host an in-person 4th of July event, so I’m especially grateful for our time together.  But the very first thing I want to convey is something special:  Last Friday in Washington, I met at the White House for almost one hour with President Biden.

President Biden wanted me to share with you at this celebration how impressed he is with the humanitarian response in Poland to the refugee crisis.  It’s the story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  There is something extraordinary going on in Poland.

It is more than just a welcome of the refugees.  It is an inspired sense of Solidarity with what the people of Ukraine are experiencing.  Poles are conveying:

That your pain is our pain, that the destruction of your home the destruction of our home, that the suffering your children is the suffering of our children, that the loss of your fighters is the loss of our fighters.

That is the essence of what President Biden said he felt here in Poland, when he visited Rzeszow, when he visited the stadium in Warsaw.

And it was profoundly moving to him, it was personal to him, and he will never, ever forget looking in the eyes of Ukrainians who said to him, “The people of Poland have welcomed us.”

He said that was awesome.  He agreed with me when I said, for Poles, this is 1939 again, and that you are stepping up in extraordinary ways.  On behalf of President Biden and the American people:  We say thank you Poland!!

That is a direct message to this gathering from President Biden.

Let me next say a big thank-you to all the members of my Embassy and Residence teams who make an event like this possible.

I especially appreciate all the planning done by our 4th of July chairs, Steven Ellesesser and Karen Mehring, and their amazing team of volunteers.

And what a wonderful performance by the Ukrainian folk group staying at Hostel Wilcza with support from World Central Kitchen.

Now, I would like to address our representatives from the private sector.

Our 4th of July party truly is one of a kind this year.  We are doing something that has never been done before by any U.S. Embassy in the world.

Instead of asking the business community to contribute funds to our Independence Day event, as is traditionally done, we encouraged members of the private sector to donate to humanitarian organizations that are helping Ukrainian refugees.

We had to get approval from Washington to support a third-party cause in this way.  And I’m so glad we did because you have stepped up.

On top of providing funds to humanitarian organizations both large and small, businesses and the people of Poland have given Ukrainian families a place to stay.

You’ve given people a fresh start and have hired refugees to join your workforce, you’ve hosted clothing drives, and you’ve helped transfer and care for Ukrainian cancer patients.  That’s just a sample of your generosity.

It’s truly astonishing.  It represents what American Independence Day is all about.  Because 4th of July is more than parties and fireworks; it’s a time to remember that we all have work to do.

We have a responsibility to preserve and protect the ideals that are contained in the Declaration of Independence, the ideals that countless men and women paid the ultimate sacrifice so we could be free.

The founding document that gave birth to our great nation ends with the phrase  “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

That is a pledge American patriots kept in 1776 as we waged a revolution against tyranny.  Now, hundreds of years later, there is a renewed pledge, to do everything we can to help Ukraine in its fight for freedom.

Independence.  It’s a word we may take for granted.  But for Ukrainians it’s a word they are reminded of daily.  It’s something they want and it’s what they deserve.

It’s the right for sovereign determination, the right to chart your own course.

Poland understands this better than anyone.  You know that for the last 200 years America and Poland have been linked in the struggle for freedom ….

That is why Poles have come to America, and why Americans have gone to Poland.  That explains the presence of Kosciuszko and Pulaski in America during the Revolutionary War, and the presence of 10,000 US troops in Poland right now.

Over 200 years, there is a real history of sacrifice between the two nations, sacrifice for the cause of American freedom, sacrifice for the cause of Polish freedom.

It is a dream which became reality because over centuries Americans appreciated the importance of Polish Freedom, and Poles appreciated the importance of American freedom.

You have a storied history of fighting for independence both in your country and ours and this explains why you have done so much to defend these principles.

And today you are doing that again.  You are helping Ukrainians fight for their country in countless ways, including facilitating the delivery of security assistance from the United States and other NATO Allies.

And you’ve helped Ukrainians escape the horrors of Putin’s war.

The United States has been there, right by your side.  We are the largest single-country donor of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, and we will continue to support the efforts of Poland and our allies and partners in Europe who are hosting millions of refugees.

Through it all, our security guarantees to Poland have been unwavering.

I’ve talked to our soldiers stationed here in Poland, and you know what they tell me?  “Sir, we are ready for anything.”

That is a crystal-clear message to Vladimir Putin.  We stand together in protecting every inch of NATO territory and in our commitment to doing what is right for Ukraine.

Americans and Poles have a responsibility to preserve what our ancestors fought for, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Today, for America’s 246th birthday, my wish is that Ukraine can celebrate its own Independence Day, which is traditionally held in August, free and at peace.  I do not know how long it will take.

It may take some time.  But I guarantee you, that wish will become reality.  Ukraine will be free and independent once again.

Thank you again for being here today.  And Happy American Independence Day.

Dziękuję wszystkim Państwu, że przyszliście tu dzisiaj, by świętować amerykańskie Święto Niepodległości. W tym roku to szczególnie ważny gest! Niech żyje Polska! Slava Ukraini! Good bless America!