Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani

Mayor's WINS Address
Sunday, July 4, 1999

Hear the Mayor's Message

Happy Independence Day
by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani

I want to wish everyone a very happy Fourth of July. Whether you're turning out for one of New York City's great parades like the Travis parade on Staten Island… going to the Macy's Fireworks display… or just planning to relax with family and friends, this is a terrific holiday.

It's the day when we pay tribute to the heritage of freedom and independence that makes the United States of America the greatest nation in the world. Our country was a bold experiment when it began 223 years ago. Experts predicted its failure. But because of the strength of the principles on which we were founded, and the tremendous strength, creativity and fortitude of our people, the United States of America has not only survived but flourished.

Throughout much of the war for independence, New York City was occupied by the British. It was the main site for holding American prisoners of war. And when the British finally evacuated in November of 1783, the city faced not only a tumultuous political climate, but tremendous logistical obstacles. Its infrastructure was damaged, its currency was devalued, and its commerce was in shambles due to the dumping of British goods.

It's really a tribute to the founding fathers-and a tribute to the principles of freedom and independence that they articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution-to think about how far our city and our nation have come since then. New York has grown from a population of only 25,000 to a population of over seven and a half million people, with more religious, cultural, linguistic and racial diversity than anyone could ever have imagined. And at the same time we've become more vibrant and successful than anyone could possibly have thought.

So on this day, we should look back with great pride at the wonderful legacy of liberty that was given to us by our founding fathers. We should be grateful that they were courageous enough to conceive of a nation in which the power of government is limited and is derived from the people. That's the foundation of our democracy, and it puts faith in the individual and the brilliance of that idea has inspired democracies to take shape all over the world.

As George Washington, who was inaugurated as our first President in New York City, said on the day he became President: "The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered... deeply, and finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people." It's our great responsibility and honor, to continue to make this experiment work. Have a wonderful Independence Day. This is Rudy Giuliani.

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