Remarks by Ambassador Jean Manes at the 241 Independence Day Celebration

241 Independence Day Celebration
Ambassador Jean Manes
Tuesday, June 27, 2017, 7:00 P.M., CIFCO

Remarks by Ambassador Jean Manes at the 241 Independence Day Celebration

June 27, 2017

* This is a courtesy translation. Only the original Spanish version should be considered authoritative.

Ladies and gentlemen, good night and welcome! After last year we didn’t have rain, but a flood – this year we do have a roof!

I want to start by thanking everyone who has worked with absolute dedication to make tonight’s event possible: donors; our dedicated embassy officials and, of course, the members of the great orchestras that accompany us.

Please … A big applause for everyone!

This is a very special night.

This year we will celebrate 241 years of Independence of the United States of America. And while it is a holiday and we’ll have fireworks too, it is also a time to reflect. A moment to see the path we have traveled and think where we want to go.

The United States was founded with an ideal of democracy, with a desire to be more than it was, with the conviction that it could become a great nation.

But also, tonight we are also celebrating 154 years of Friendship between the United States and El Salvador.

I extend my sincere thanks to the Legislature for decreeing June 15 of each year as the day of Friendship between El Salvador and the United States.

We have been working to realize the dream of celebrating the strong link between our countries and hence the “Friendship in Action” festival was born: 2 nations, 7 concerts, 8 orchestras, and most importantly: thousands of spectators.

This festival reflects the basic principle under which we work in our embassy: we are here to support Salvadoran efforts.

And we wanted to dedicate our special date to reflect this principle, supporting their efforts to improve security, develop the economy and strengthen their institutions.

We could have simply brought a group of musicians from the United States and presented a concert. But we wanted much more than that.

Because this “Friendship in Action” festival is not about the United States. It’s about what we can achieve when we work side by side.

It is about the incredible potential of Salvadoran youth, it is about highlighting the true talent in this country and supporting those who are already making a difference.

We did not want to present the music, but to join it.

The Youth Choir and Orchestra of the Don Bosco Industrial Estate that accompanies us tonight is the manifestation of a promise of the future. A group that began with a dream of Father Pepe Moratalla who, with the support of several of you over the years, put a beacon of hope in a very difficult neighborhood.

This program has managed to create hope through music. And he has shown that every young person is valuable, that every young person is important.

This commitment to youth, to the future of El Salvador, is the true spirit of the Amistad en Acción festival.

I deeply thank the Symphony of the Americas for this leap of faith they took by joining this dream.

My special thanks to the Master of the Symphony of the Americas, James Brooks Bruzzese, and to its executive director, Renee LaBonte. They selected a group of musicians, all of them music teachers, some heads of music departments of the main universities in the United States who spent months working with the youth of the Don Bosco Polygon.

These young people we will hear today have rehearsed every day since February. In my 25 years of diplomatic career, I have never seen musical talent like the one in El Salvador.

To you, talented young people, I want to say that I am very proud of each one of you, of your dedication, of your effort and of your commitment.

Thank you for inspiring us, for reminding us that we should concentrate our efforts on the most important thing: the youth of this country.

When there is potential, all it takes is a spark to express itself; and there is no doubt that young people in El Salvador have a lot of potential.

Let’s support this youth that seeks to silence the noise of violence through music, which is making a difference right now, one musical note at a time.

Tonight we will enjoy the fifth concert of the Festival. We have already visited Santa Ana, Ahuachapán, Soyapango and Cojutepeque, and they will still be presented in Ciudad Delgado and Sonsonate. All are priority municipalities of the El Salvador Seguro Plan.

I also want to recognize another Salvadoran talent tonight – Dennis Soriano. He wrote a song titled “I Believe,” which captures the essence of the 25th anniversary commemoration of the Peace Accords.

You will hear it in a moment but I want to emphasize the chorus that says:

Together we can
I believe in you
We are united brothers
For a better country,
Without exception, together we can
Make a better El Salvador

This is also the essence of tonight. Celebrate our nations, the long history of friendship we share and our conviction that a better future is possible.

And on behalf of the United States, I want to reiterate that we are at your side. We believe in El Salvador because we believe in Salvadorans.

Because I can assure you: we didn’t bring the music. The music was always here.

May God bless the United States of America and the Republic of El Salvador.

Thank you very much and enjoy the music!