Ambassador Mark Brzezinski’s Remarks at Warsaw July 4th 2022 Independence Day Celebration.

Good afternoon Everyone!!

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!!

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. 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.

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.

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.

We wish all our American Sisters, relatives, benefactors and friends a very Happy American Independence Day.