By General Kip Ward, U.S. Africa Command, July 1, 2010
Hello Teammates and Happy Birthday America,
As another national birthday approaches, we Americans have much to be proud of. We remember our history from our own independence from colonial rule 234 years ago. We remember those who dedicated their lives in forging the principles of freedom and democracy that make our Nation strong, and remember the sacrifices of those who defended them. And we look forward to another year as a global partner helping to make the world a better and more secure place.
At the same time, many nations across the continent of Africa are celebrating their 50th anniversaries of independence this year. Their progress and sacrifices evoke similar emotions of pride and hope. In my travels to Africa, I have many opportunities to see and celebrate the great work Africans are doing, often in partnership with Americans, toward the common goals of freedom, democracy, and strength.
Over the past year, we in AFRICOM have supported progress by African military partners across the continent in building security capacity and addressing national and regional security challenges. I have seen our great work in partnering with African and European counterparts to address trafficking in drugs, arms, and persons, and to improve maritime security in west and east Africa. I observed pandemic and disaster response exercises as a part of the multinational Exercise Natural Fire in Uganda, which helped support the development of a regional response capacity in the Great Lakes area. Together with our teammates at our embassies in Africa, who represent the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development and other civilian agencies, we are helping Africans provide for their own security for the benefit of current and future generations of Africans and Americans.
So this Fourth of July, as we celebrate America’s birthday and all that America stands for, let’s also celebrate our strong partnerships with our African friends, and all who work together for the cause of peace and stability.