Happy Birthday America!














Photo by AP

July 4, 2010

 President Obama released a message commemorating Independence Day and wishing Americans everywhere a happy Fourth of July:

Today we celebrate the 234th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the beginning of a great experiment, American democracy. In every corner of our country, we recall the valor and vision of patriots from Thirteen Colonies who declared independence from a powerful empire and gave birth to a new nation. We gather in town centers and wave flags in parades not only to recall this history we share, but also to honor the vibrant and enduring spirit of America established on this day.

For those gallant first Americans, such a nation as ours may have seemed like an unattainable dream. Their concept was revolutionary: a government of, by, and for the people. Yet our Founders' tenacity, resolve, and courage in the face of seemingly impossible odds became the bedrock of our country. That essence has permeated our land and inspired generations of Americans to explore, discover, and redefine the outer reaches of our infinite potential. It has become the foundation of the American dream.

This dream has not come without tremendous cost. From the farmers and tradesmen who served in militias during our American Revolution to the present day women and men protecting our nation around the world, the sacrifices of our armed forces have been extraordinary. Today we pay tribute to our service members, many of whom have paid the ultimate sacrifice. We also acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of their loving families. It is their heroism that has paved the remarkable path of freedom's march.

Just as this day serves as a reminder of the immeasurable bravery of those who have made America what it is today, it also renews in us the solemn duty we share to ensure our nation lives up to its promise. We must not simply commemorate the work begun over two and a quarter centuries ago; we are called to join together, hoist their mantle upon our shoulders, and carry that spirit of service into tomorrow.

America again faces a daunting set of challenges, yet our history shows these are not insurmountable. We need only to draw upon the perseverance of those before us—our founders who declared and fought for their ideals; our ancestors who emigrated here and struggled to build a better future for their children; and our pioneers and entrepreneurs who blazed trails that have continually expanded our horizons. Their spirit—our spirit—will guide our nation now and in our bright future.

On our nation's birthday, may we come together in the enduring spirit of America to begin that work anew. I wish you all the best for a happy Fourth of July. May God bless all those who serve, and may God bless the United States of America.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

June 15th, 1944. Does anyone on Saipan know what that day is? It's the day the Marine's landed to Liberate Saipan. The counterpart on Guam is July 21st.
Now, why doesn't the CNMI celebrate "Liberation Day" on June 15th?
They could have picked any other day, but they chose July 4th. What does July 4th mean? It signifies the independence of America from English rule. So, we have two days. One CNMI "Liberation Day" that is the biggest day on the island and the less important and recognized July 4th "Independence Day". Again in the minds of the local people America is being put in second place. In addition to the obvious slap in the face of the USA, my biggest problem is that it's done on purpose and not even an accurate protrayal of history. But what does history matter.
The dictionary defines Liberation as "the seeking of equal status or just treatment for or on behalf of any group believed to be discriminated against"
Again, their Liberation is taking a front seat to a group of people on the island that continue to wait for their liberation.
When will we celebrate that day?

The Saipan Blogger said...

Back in Saipan, the local government doesn't officially recognize Independence Day; we celebrate something we call Liberation Day, which coincidently also happens to fall on the Fourth of July. In one of the many ironies that makes Saipan, Saipan, Liberation Day commemorates the anniversary of the day the Chamorro people living on Saipan were liberated from the US Military, not by the US Military. Out of the necessities of war, for two years after the invasion of Saipan, the indigenous people of Saipan (and the Japanese, Okinawan and Korean civilians) were forced to live in an internment camp called Camp Susupe. Liberation Day only commemorates Saipan's liberation from the Japanese in the sense that it commemorates the end of the war's hostilities and America's need for a launching pad to invade Japan.

The release from Camp Susupe on July 4, 1946, set the indigenous people down the path towards self-government, something they had not had since Magellan "discovered" the islands, and something not achieved until January 9, 1978. The annual celebration of Liberation Day helps remind us of our democracy's humble beginnings, beginnings much humbler than those of the land- and slave-owning gentlemen who signed the US Declaration of Independence in 1776.

In practice, however, Liberation Day is more a celebration of Independence Day than it is a reminder of the horrors of war or of the beginnings of democracy in Saipan. In essence, we celebrate our liberation from and relationship to the United States on the same day. And this supposed parodox plays out every single day in Saipan. For example, in the local House of Representatives, one member calls America an enemy, while another serves in the Army Reserve. Patriotism runs deep, but so does anti-Americanism.

Just another day in paradise.

The Saipan Blogger said...

From the Saipan Blog:

Back in Saipan, the local government doesn't officially recognize Independence Day; we celebrate something we call Liberation Day, which coincidently also happens to fall on the Fourth of July. In one of the many ironies that makes Saipan, Saipan, Liberation Day commemorates the anniversary of the day the Chamorro people living on Saipan were liberated from the US Military, not by the US Military. Out of the necessities of war, for two years after the invasion of Saipan, the indigenous people of Saipan (and the Japanese, Okinawan and Korean civilians) were forced to live in an internment camp called Camp Susupe. Liberation Day only commemorates Saipan's liberation from the Japanese in the sense that it commemorates the end of the war's hostilities and America's need for a launching pad to invade Japan.


Camp Susupe (Japanese Section) Saipan, 1944. Photograph courtesy of the CNMI Historic Preservation Office.

The release from Camp Susupe on July 4, 1946, set the indigenous people down the path towards self-government, something they had not had since Magellan "discovered" the islands, and something not achieved until January 9, 1978. The annual celebration of Liberation Day helps remind us of our democracy's humble beginnings, beginnings much humbler than those of the land- and slave-owning gentlemen who signed the US Declaration of Independence in 1776.

In practice, however, Liberation Day is more a celebration of Independence Day than it is a reminder of the horrors of war or of the beginnings of democracy in Saipan. In essence, we celebrate our liberation from and relationship to the United States on the same day. And this supposed parodox plays out every single day in Saipan. For example, in the local House of Representatives, one member calls America an enemy, while another serves in the Army Reserve. Patriotism runs deep, but so does anti-Americanism.

Just another day in paradise.

Anonymous said...

BTW, July 4th is also a recognized holiday by the Phil Govt.in the Phil. as, "American/ Phil. friendship day" The State Dept and US Embassy (Manila) recognizes this also.