U.S. Ambassador to Senegal James P. Zumwalt and Senegalese Armed Forces Minister Augustin Tine presided over the United States Embassy’s observation of its national holiday, officially marked on July 4 — the date that the Republic’s Founding Fathers adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776 — on Thursday, June 11. Numerous diplomats and military officials as well as business leaders, religious dignitaries, and other invitees also attended the reception.
Americans often refer to this Independence Day holiday as the Fourth of July, to mark the anniversary of when the founders of our Republic adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776. This year, the U.S. Embassy in Dakar chose to gather in advance of that date in respect of many Senegalese who will be fasting in honor of Ramadan on that date.
The Embassy chose a special theme — the glamour of 1960’s Hollywood — for this year’s party in honor of historic moments in our relationship with the Republic of Senegal.
- In September 1960, the United States recognized and established diplomatic relations with a newly independent Senegal.
- The United States was one of the first nations to send an Ambassador, Henry Villard, to reside in Dakar.
- In April 1961, Vice President Lyndon Johnson came to Dakar to join the celebration of the first anniversary of Senegalese independence.
- In November 1961, President John F. Kennedy invited President Leopold Senghor to Washington where they met in the White House.
- In 1963, the first American Peace Corps volunteers arrived in Senegal. Since then over 3,000 Americans have worked side-by-side with Senegalese partners to promote good health, improve agriculture and provide educational opportunities.
- The 1960s also saw a strengthening of our cultural ties. In 1966, the State Department sent the greatest names in African-American culture — Duke Ellington, Alvin Ailey and Langston Hughes — to Senegal for the “Festival Mondial des Arts Nègres”.
Ambassador Zumwalt, in greeting the many honored attendees, paid respect to the fact that “today, fifty years later, the relationship between the Republic of Senegal and the United States remains strong, robust, and dynamic. We share an interest in promoting regional security and a willingness to contribute to international efforts to make or preserve the peace. The United States and Senegal share the dream of promoting economic prosperity at home and around the world in order to build a better and more prosperous future for our children.”
Magnificent fireworks in the Embassy’s gardens capped off the evening for all of those who came to celebrate the 239th anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America.