Member of Parliament Fa’aulusau Rosa Stowers, Minister of Women Community & Social Development Faimalotoa Kika Stowers, Nancy Gilbert, Ambassador Gilbert, Member of the Council of Deputies Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aleto’a Sualauvi 11, Acting Prime Minister Sala Lisati Pinati, US charge de affairs Angelina Wilkinson and Minister for Communication Information and technology Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i at the celebrations.
BY Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA: WEDNESDAY 13 JULY 2016: Samoa and the United States of America (USA) came together Tuesday night to celebrate a 240 year old idea that set America as a free democratic nation.
“We are celebrating an idea so beautifully expressed by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776,” the US Ambassador to Samoa, Mark Gilbert told guests at the celebration at the US residence, Vailima.
“We hold these truths to be self –evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, and amongst these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuant of Happiness.”
In acknowledging America’s milestone celebration, was Acting Prime Minister, Salā Lisati Pinati.
“The honoring of this day by all Americans, is a reminder to us all of the commitment to the founding principles for freedom, individuality, and self- government, which form the network and pillars of the American dream,” he said.
“I extend to you the Government of Samoa’s congratulations for reaching this milestone,” said Sala.
Sala said Samoa and America share the same values.
“Before diplomatic relations between Samoa and the US was established in 1971, American presence was already felt in the Pacific including Samoa in the 1850’s, when American soldiers were stationed here during the First World War.
“We have been working together with the US to protect the environment and fisheries, to promote sustainable development in the Pacific region, and strengthen the status of democracy and human rights,” said Sala.
America’s 100 years of National Park
Also celebrated last night was the 100 anniversary since the American Government emphasized the importance of National Parks.
“One hundred years celebration of the National Parks service is a fitting way to celebrate 240 years of independence, with the focus on sustainable development, and the importance of environment development and it’s preservation for future generation,” said Sala.
“National parks are the best idea we ever had, absolutely American, absolutely democratic and they reflect us at our best rather that our worst,” Ambassador Gilbert quoted from author Wallace Stegner.
Sala acknowledge the US global effort to address threats of climate change, the reduction of green house gases, and the extensive use of renewable energy, and their commitment in assisting Samoa through the Climate Change Adaptation programme.
“Our national parks are a collection of green natural spaces, national monuments and historical properties all across USA. Its service is charged with the dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of these places, while also making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment,” said Gilbert.
His Excellency said Samoa and the US have a lot in common regarding their parks, and he acknowledged Samoa for preserving and safekeeping her parks.
He made reference to some of Samoa’s best recreational parks such as Togitogiga Falls and To Sua Trench.
“Be it swimming in the modern marvel that is the To Sua Trench or cooling off at the Togitogiga Waterfalls or enjoying the view from the top of Falealupo Walkway, you encourage visitors to enjoy Samoa in a responsible and sustainable manner,” said Gilbert.
Ambassador Gilbert and Acting Prime Minister Salā Fata Lisati Pinati, then jointly cut the cake to mark the occasion.