“TODAY has a special meaning for me because it’s the day I was sworn in as ambassador exactly two years ago,” stated Theodore Sedgwick, US Ambassador to Slovakia, in a speech to guests gathered to celebrate the 236th Independence Day national holiday of his country in the garden of his residence in Bratislava. “It also has a second special meaning for me since my great-great-great grandfather, William Ellery, was a signer of our Declaration of Independence in 1776.”
Sedgwick, who has been a very enthusiastic traveler throughout Slovakia, delivered his speech in Slovak. Guests included Prime Minister Robert Fico, Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák, Finance Minister Peter Kažimír, foreign diplomats in Slovakia as well as leaders from different areas of public life in Slovakia.
The ambassador noted that Americans are proud of their spirit of liberty and independence and hold these as core values, while adding that it is this same spirit that spread throughout central Europe in 1989 and more recently throughout the Arab world.
“I returned a couple of weeks ago from Cleveland with my friend Bratislava mayor Milan Ftáčnik where we spoke to the Slovak-American community about the importance of the Cleveland Agreement of 1915, which was the first major declaration of independence of Slovakia,” stated Sedgwick, adding that the first sentence of this agreement calls for independence for Czech lands and Slovakia. “I grew up in Cleveland and all paintings you will see inside the residence here are by Cleveland painters – this underscores the importance of Cleveland to Slovak independence.”
Sedgwick noted that the United States has long played an important role in Slovakia’s quest for self-determination while Slovaks recognized President Woodrow Wilson’s role in creating the independence of Czechoslovakia by calling Pressburg “Wilson City” for several months after World War I, and later renaming it Bratislava.
“Americans continued to fight for Slovak freedom with the deployment of our pilots during World War II, during the Cold War, and by encouraging Slovakia to join the European Union and NATO,” Sedgwick said. “With elections this year in both Slovakia and the US, it's worth observing that Slovak-American relations will remain strong no matter which party is in power in either country.”
Sedgwick added that in anticipation the 20th anniversary of an independent Slovakia this coming January, “we Americans pledge to continue working together with Slovakia to promote independence, peace and prosperity”.
5. Jul 2012 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff