As I previewed at the end of my prior post, we had another wonderful Independence Day reception yesterday evening to commemorate both the 236th anniversary of the American Declaration of Independence and the 70th anniversary of the arrival of U.S. servicemen and women in New Zealand after the outbreak of World War II in the Pacific. This time we celebrated at the Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum in the Wigram district of Christchurch.
The Marine Band played. I discreetly entered the hall in a vintage American jeep. We sang the national anthems and acknowledged the World War II veterans among us. Mayor Bob Parker and I offered remarks on the warm and vibrant state of relations between the people of New Zealand and America. And more than 200 guests enjoyed an evening of fine wine, good food, great conversation, and swing dancing.
Like our prior two Independence Day receptions this year in Wellington and Auckland, it was a wonderful night of spirited conversation, warm memories of prior service and sacrifice, and forward-looking appreciation of the dynamic, warm, impactful, expanding partnership between our people and our countries. I wasn’t at all surprised. Family gatherings are always special occasions.