BOSTON, MA – U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt recently spoke with The National Herald on the occasion of the 242nd anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4. The entire interview follows:
TNH: Mr. Ambassador, what are your thoughts on the occasion of the 4th of July?
GP: It is a special honor to celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Athens – a city that explicitly inspired our Founders’ vision of a democratic republic. So today I think about honoring that tradition of independence, democratic values and self-determination, and our continuous journey as a country.
TNH: Which are the most pivotal principles and values that emanate from the Fourth of July celebrations for today’s world?
GP: Democratic accountability, freedom, honor — the values that inspired America’s founders have their roots here in Greece, so celebrating here is particularly fitting. These democratic ideals have been the bedrock of the United States’ alliance with Greece, and in turn inspired American support for Greek independence, nearly 200 years ago.
TNH: How much do you think Greek culture and history influenced the Founding Fathers?
TNH: Greece and the United States played integral roles in each other’s founding. We have stood together in every major conflict of the last two centuries. Athenian democracy inspired our Founding Fathers, and the American Revolution, in turn, galvanized the Greek people to fight for democracy. President Monroe and the great American statesman Daniel Webster both supported Greece’s independence struggle, and several Americans fought in the Greek War of Independence.
TNH: What does it mean to celebrate the Fourth of July in Greece?
GP: Celebrating the Fourth of July in Greece is particularly special, because Greece has long been a bulwark of Western democratic ideals in this challenging region. And in my travels across the length and breadth of this beautiful country, one of the things that has impressed me is how Greeks, even amid a historic economic crisis, have retained their commitment to democratic values and institutions. Our July 4 celebrations last year in Athens and Thessaloniki were a highlight of the diplomatic calendar, and I look forward to the same this year.