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 You are in: Bureaus/Offices Reporting Directly to the Secretary > Deputy Secretary of State > Former Deputy Secretaries of State > Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage > Remarks > 2004

Inauguration of Spanish Ambassador's Residence

Richard L. Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State
Washington, DC
January 13, 2004

Deputy Secretary Armitage with His Excellency Jose Maria Aznar, President of the Government of Spain.  State Department photo by Michael Gross.President Aznar and Mrs. Aznar, Ambassador and Mrs. Ruperez, thank you for inviting us all to share in this moving celebration of your new home and of the magnificent spirit of Spain.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am deeply honored to be here with you to represent my country and I am humbled to stand in such company. I believe we are all twice-blessed tonight. Cardinal McCarrick has given us the word of God and Mr. Moneo has given us an atmosphere of divine inspiration.

Truly, this home is extraordinary. Not only does it have acoustics worthy of Aaron Copeland, it is a tribute to the strength and the enduring beauty of the Spanish character. It is a monument to the future, filled with a gorgeous reverence for the past. Perhaps, in a sense, this home might also stand for Spain’s partnership with America, for the sanctuary we find in our friendship.

Indeed, you could say there is Spanish blood pulsing in the soul of America. The earliest European settlements in this country were Spanish and the lasting influence of those origins is clear, from Florida to California. Even today, Spanish is the mother tongue for nearly 40 million Americans, a confluence of cultures that enriches us all.

Our people share the ties of heritage and of the heart, but we also share a fundamental commitment to freedom and democracy. We see the force of that commitment in Afghanistan and in Iraq, where Spanish and American troops and diplomats are serving, with all the heartbreak of sacrifice, so that the people of those nations and of our own might live with security, in peace and prosperity. Indeed, we see the force of our commitment around the world, from Latin America to NATO and the European Union. Wherever we work together to promote the rule of law and protect the right to liberty and a better livelihood.

And while we all cherish these values, it can be a challenge to make the right decisions on behalf of freedom. But the world can see in President Aznar the true promise of democracy. He has a long record of right decisions, always made with courage and with careful forethought. As a result, Spain is today a country of self-confidence, where the economy is sound, the people are safe, and the future is magnificent.

It is a loss for us all, Mr. President, that you plan to become the world’s youngest retiree this spring and, I understand, a full-time grandfather. But I have no doubt whatsoever that you leave behind a legacy that will outlast us all – of a dynamic Spain and a durable friendship between our two nations. Moreover, I am certain that you will find a way to continue to serve your country, to strengthen the sanctuary of our friendship, and to stand for peace and dignity around the world. But today, tonight – I am honored to be here to stand for you. Just as America will always stand for Spain. May God bless this home, and all who have gathered here tonight.


Released on January 14, 2004

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