- The US Embassy recreates and presents a historic plaque to the Government of Liberia.
Through its Embassy near Monrovia, the United States of America has recreated and presented a historical plaque to the government and people of Liberia.
Making the presentation on Tuesday, July 26, at Liberia’s 175th Independence Anniversary, Ambassador Michael McCarthy said the United States of America has always been a proud partner and supporter of the Liberian people– almost as if Liberia’s successes are their successes. He noted that 75 years ago, in 1947, the Centennial celebration of Liberia’s Independence featured the opening of the brand new $18,000,000 Port of Monrovia, paid for with U.S. Lend-Lease funds.
He indicated that on that same anniversary, on the steps of the United States Capitol, the U.S. government unveiled the gift of a bronze plaque honoring the Government of Liberia.
“At the center of the plaque were two hands stretching out from the continent of North America and the continent of Africa, hands clasped across the Atlantic Ocean,” he said.
“We, citizens of the United States, cherish the unique historical ties that exist between our nation and Liberia, and in the name of our common Creator and common Judge, we commend to Liberia the spirit of freedom, ‘sympathy and friendly consideration’ as a principle of peace that all members of the world family of nations should share, and we, on this 26th day of July, 1947, duly represented and assembled in Washington, the capital city of the United States,
According to the U.S. diplomat, unfortunately, that plaque was a casualty of the terrible civil war years and to this day is nowhere to be found. However, as a sign of our unwavering friendship, Ambassador McCarthy said, and as a result of historical research at the Embassy, “I am proud to announce that today we present to the Government of Liberia a recreation of that SAME plaque, by renowned Liberian artist, Leslie Lumeh, to commemorate Liberia’s 175th anniversary of independence!”
“Mr. President, it is a great honor to present you with this replica of the historic plaque.” May you enjoy it through many years of peace and tranquility.
Meanwhile, Ambassador McCarthy extended an invitation to President Weah, stating, “President Joseph Biden would be honored if you would accept his invitation to the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC this December to wrap up this fantastic year!”
The US Ambassador said he was delighted to be present to help celebrate this important anniversary. He said it is a notable day in the history of not only Liberia and the United States, but all of Africa, as the continent’s first independent republic. From its inception on this continent, Liberia represented something new and hopeful, just as America, from which it sprang, represented something new and hopeful on the American continent, according to Ambassador McCarthy.
He said this was summed up in Abraham Lincoln’s most famous speech, the Gettysburg Address, which he said began with the now famous words, “Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the idea that all men are created equal.”
“Like America, Liberia was conceived in liberty. And like America, Liberia struggled to make equality for all men a reality. Throughout the decades, we’ve seen both our countries progress in their struggle to embody these words and to become safe havens for all people, “he said.
According to him, President Lincoln’s words serve as a reminder that democracy is a constant struggle toward a more perfect union. It is never a given, and it can never be taken for granted. We have to remind ourselves that democracy is more than just a well-written constitution or norms and traditions; it requires care and constant renewal, and leaders who understand that their actions and words matter in maintaining a democratic society.
He said challenges also represent opportunities. Just as America continues to fight back in response to challenges to our democracy, Liberia continues to set an evolving example of democracy in Africa.
“Minister Diggs is correct – what you say DOES matter and what you do DOES make a difference. A deep understanding of those ideals in the foundation of Liberia has inspired Liberia’s courageous stand against Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified barbaric attack on Ukraine. “Amb. McCarthy said Liberia’s civil war experience left an unshakable appreciation for human rights, which feeds Liberia’s consistent stands against oppression around the globe,” Amb. McCarthy said.
The Ambassador said in honor of these three occasions, the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia has dedicated this year to acknowledging and celebrating these historic milestones– starting with:
January’s celebrations on Providence Island marked the beginning of the commemorations.
In February, a Presidential Delegation was sent by President Biden, led by National Security Council Director for Africa Dana Banks, to attend the Bicentennial Commemoration at Samuel K. Doe Stadium.
And shortly thereafter, the enthusiastic participation of the Chairman of the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Chair and several members of the United States Congressional Black Caucus.
The congressional delegation visited Providence Island and had the privilege of viewing the originals of the Liberian Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, those hallowed documents we see before us here today.
We’ve also witnessed several historic achievements! Forfor the first this yeartime, the U.S. State Department bestowed the coveted International Women of Courage Award on a Liberian, Facia Harris, for her outstanding contribution to women’s empowerment. Just last week, the U.S. Secretary of State personally presented a Trafficking in Persons Report Hero Award to Judge Cornelius Wennah. He was also the first Liberian to be so honored.
In addition, this year the U.S. Embassy and the National Library of Liberia signed an MOU that will see the establishment of an American Shelf at the former J.J. Roberts Executive Mansion on Ashmun Street.
In July, we brought the U.S. Navy Topside Band to join the University of Liberia Band, the Armed Forces of Liberia Band, the Salvation Army Band, and Juli Endee & the Crusaders for a musical extravaganza that delighted many highlighting our shared and distinct musical traditions.