U.S. Independence Day Celebration
Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Peter Haymond
Good evening. In keeping with this year’s Hawaiian luau theme, I’d also like to say to all of our guests, aloha.
Distinguished guests, ambassadors, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen – Mahalo nui loa.
Thank you all very much for joining Dusadee and I and all of the Mission Thailand family to celebrate the 243rd birthday of the United States of America.
Thank you to our special guests for coming: Representatives of the Royal Thai Government, Ambassadors from nations around the world and a special mention to His Excellency Mr. Chirayu Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya of the Privy Council, and of course, his spouse Thanpuying Oranuch. We are so glad all of you could join us tonight.
Many thanks also to our sponsors in the private sector who made tonight possible – we could not have done it without you. I hope everyone saw our list of great sponsors as you entered.
And to my colleagues at the Embassy, thank you for your weeks and months of work to create this celebration.
We have a special musical treat tonight: the U.S. Air Force Pacific Showcase Band. You have already heard Senior Airman Christina Bagley sing the U.S. National Anthem.
And thanks also to Petty Officer First Class Teerawat Kaewsiri from the Royal Thai Navy Band for that beautiful rendition of the Thai Royal Anthem.
Each year, we select a theme for our Independence Day celebration, often highlighting the traditions of one or more of our 50 states. This year, the theme is Hawai’i, our newest and “pacific-most” state. Hawai’i is known for its diverse culture and stunning natural landscape. You can see some examples around the room tonight.
The state of Hawai’i is comprised of eight islands, each with their own unique features. Hawai’i is also the only one of our 50 states in which Asians are the largest ethnic group. So, it is not surprising that Hawai’i’s relations with Asia, including with Thailand, began long before it became the most recent U.S. state, only 60 years ago.
The engagement between the Kingdom of Hawaii and the Kingdom of Siam began in 1881 when King Kalakaua was received in Bangkok by King Chulalongkorn.
During this historic visit, King Chulalongkorn appointed King Kalakaua a Knight of the Grand Cross of the Crown of Siam and King Kalakaua reciprocated with the Royal Order of Kamehameha I.
The relationship continues today with a Thai pavilion, Pratinang Patiharn Tasanai (Throne of the Miracle Vision), which King Rama IX sent to Hawai’i in 1967.
During the dedication, King Rama IX said: “It is my wish that this pavilion may serve as (a) symbol of universal hospitality and brotherhood…Let it be a haven of love and understanding for all travelers from East and West.
In 2008, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn rededicated that pavilion. It proudly sits today at the East-West Center in Honolulu.
King Rama IX’s sentiment live on. The same is true of the commitment of the United States to the partnership with the Kingdom of Thailand, our oldest ally in the region and our longstanding friend. Our partnership continues strong in this very important year for Thailand.
Last month, the U.S. Embassy joined the people of Thailand in extending our warmest congratulations to His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua on the auspicious occasions of His Majesty’s coronation and His Majesty’s marriage to Her Majesty Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana.
And as Chair of ASEAN this year, Thailand is again demonstrating its leadership role in the region. In addition, on March 24 we watched as tens of millions of Thai citizens participated in the long-awaited election to demonstrate their strong support for return to elected government.
I know there remain a number of complaints about the election process that are still being investigated. We hope these complaints will be addressed in a manner seen by the Thai people as transparent and balanced to help bring the people of Thailand closer together and make Thailand stronger. Because we want a strong partner in Thailand.
The United States looks forward to working with Thailand’s newly elected Parliament and newly seated government to advance values that bring our countries closer together, including democracy, security, and prosperity for all citizens.
We are proud of our historic relationship with Thailand and of so many areas of partnership that bind our two countries together.
Our hope is that we will continue to grow together and continue to cooperate for the benefit of both our peoples, and of the region.
As you enjoy our celebration luau today, I hope you will consider one day visiting Hawai’i, and experience for yourself its rich culture, history, and hospitality.
Please join me now in toasting His Majesty, King Rama X, and the People of Thailand: “To His Majesty and the People of Thailand.”
Please now join me in toasting President Donald J. Trump and the American People: “To the President and the American People.”
Thank you everyone, I hope you enjoy the evening.