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The Honorable Redley Killion Vice President Federated States of Micronesia

November 3, 2001 Palikir, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia

My fellow citizens, members of the diplomatic corps, guests, and visitors:

On behalf of President Falcam, I wish all of you a very happy and peaceful National Day. In doing so, I ask that we not only celebrate today throughout our nation, but that we reflect and take stock of our achievements. Looking back over the past year, we have much to be thankful for in addition to our anniversary as we get down to the serious business of celebration. I believe it is well for us to reflect on the significance of this date within the historical context of our young nation.

My fellow Micronesians, let us be reminded that FSM’s entrance onto the world stage as an independent State on November 3, 1986, that world arena was quite different from the one we find ourselves in today. As we all know, on the infamous September 11 our closest friend and most important benefactor, the United States of America, was under domestic attack from a foreign source for the first time since 1812. As of today, that attack had been and is continuing to be more destructive beyond the wildest expectations of the terrorists. I therefore ask that as a nation dedicated to peace, friendship and love for humanity, we pause to observe a moment of silent prayer for the more than five thousand innocent people who lost their lives and their families who live to feel the agony of such great loss. We pray for the success of the United States and its coalition partners’ efforts to stem the tide of terrorism.

(Pause for 15 seconds.)

November 3, 1986 is indeed one of the most important dates in the lives of the people of the Federated States of Micronesia. On that very day, we the people of the Federated States of Micronesia gained our independence with the reassuring guidance and generous support of the United States of America, ending over 200 years of foreign domination and 40 years of United Nations Trusteeship. On that very day, we the people of the Federated States of Micronesia gained worldwide respect for our sovereignty after over 200 hundred years of international wanton disregard. On that very day, we gained secured financial and economic assistance from the United States of America for 15 years and a special relationship with the greatest nation on God’s earth that runs in perpetuity. Finally, on that very day, the FSM assumed its rightful place among the community of nations, and as a consequence we the people of the Federated States of Micronesia became the proud guardian of our destiny.

It is fitting for us on November 3 to underscore the crucial role the United States carried out in our quest for self-government. More importantly, let us acknowledge with profound gratitude the genuine desire and commitment of the United States to help FSM achieve economic and political stability and eventual self-reliance. This commitment is embodied in the Compact of Free Association, a bilateral treaty that provided over $1 billion in financial grant and an array of U.S. domestic federal assistance programs to the FSM for 15 years. For our part, FSM has granted an exclusive defense right in our territory, including access denial to a third party. The Compact bonded the FSM and the U.S. together in a special relationship where the two nations have enjoyed close collaboration on the international scene, as we together advance the causes of freedom and democracy. Case in point, as you may know, President Falcam has communicated to President Bush FSM’s full support for the U.S. war on terrorism, consistent with our mutual commitment to close friendship and cooperation.

Let us not loose sight that this vibrant nation of ours, owes much to the U.S., but we have many others who have extended their friendship and assistance to our people’s well-being and our nation’s development. Amongst these are, Japan, China, Australia, and others. To them we give our thanks and gratitude for what has transpired. We remain committed to our continued collaboration not only in economic terms but in the bonds of friendship.

November 3, 2001 is the 15th anniversary of the Compact. It is yet another concrete reason for us to celebrate and be thankful. And so, my fellow citizens, I close with a quote from our constitution, "We extend to all nations what we seek from each: peace, friendship, cooperation, and love in our common humanity."

Thank you and may God bless us all.

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