Ambassador Jean Elizabeth Manes
Wednesday November 22, 12:00PM, Mesón de Goya
Good afternoon to all. First of all, I would like to welcome everyone to this Thanksgiving lunch.
We have members of the National Police of Lourdes Colón, Sonsonate, Soyapango, San Miguel, Usulután, Santa Ana, Zacatecoluca, La Paz, and San Salvador.
Thanksgiving is a celebration that goes far beyond just good food. It’s the day in the year where we reflect on and are grateful for everything we have. It is my favorite day of the year. Not only because we can focus on all the good things, but because we also think about what we can do to help others.
At the embassy we wanted to do something to thank the Salvadorans who are serving others, and we immediately thought: we have to do something for the National Civil Police.
You are trying to reclaim your country.
All of us are inspired by your dedication and commitment to improve the security of El Salvador. We know that you are one of the central axes to achieve change in El Salvador. And we can see every day, the faith that you have in your country.
We know that your work is rarely recognized. You go out every day, it doesn’t matter if it rains or shines, to protect all Salvadorans.
My brother is a member of the police in my own state of Florida, and he would have liked to have been here today. But just like you, it does not matter if it’s a holiday, there are no days off. You have to work – and so does he!
At the embassy we follow a basic philosophy: we are here to support Salvadoran efforts. That is the reason why we invest so much to support the Alliance for Prosperity and also the Plan El Salvador Seguro.
Programs like the Police Athletic League and GREAT are successful because you took the lead in investing in the youth of El Salvador. Working on creating relationships with young people so that they can see the police, so that they can see you, as members of the community. As mentors, as allies, as role models.
There have been clear advances in the development of the capacities of the police force in El Salvador. You and your institution deserve everyone’s support.
I would also like to thank ITCA, our entire embassy team – in particular our Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement – INL, and also all the volunteers. From the first day when we were talking about the possibility of having this special lunch for you, they told me, “Yes, let’s go, we want to do it.”
This afternoon comes from our hearts – we appreciate the dedication and sacrifice of each of you and your families. And I want to take this moment to honor the 44 members of the police and their families who sacrificed their own lives in the line of duty.
We have started a public campaign for all Salvadorans to join this effort to thank the people who serve their communities.
John F. Kennedy said: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
And it is a feeling that is very clear in Spanish when we say “Día de Acción de Gracias”, because it is not just about speaking, about saying some words, but about taking concrete and specific actions to demonstrate this gratitude.
To the heroes in blue, we are honored to have you here – Happy Thanksgiving!