On July 4, the United States of America celebrates its 243rd birthday. This year, we celebrate not only the birth of our nation, but three other remarkable anniversaries.
2019 marks a significant milestone in Romanian history, the 30th anniversary of Romania’s freedom from communism and the return to the Western values of rule of law, economic freedom, and transatlantic security. We greatly value our partnership with Romania and our friendship with Romanians, and as I have noted on many occasions, we are working together to ensure a free and secure Romania that is economically prosperous.
This year also marks 15 years since Romania joined NATO, an alliance that represents the guarantee of stability and security, a strong transatlantic bond, which is vital for the prosperous development of the country. Our soldiers have worked side-by-side in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, as we together seek a lasting and secure peace in Romania and for NATO as a whole. Just last week here in Romania, we concluded one of the largest military exercises in Europe, with Romanians, Americans, and other NATO allies and partners working in unison.
In 2019, we also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. One small step by an American astronaut brought the world closer, illustrating how connected we really are on planet Earth. Romanians I meet fondly reminisce about watching the lunar landing on State TV to marvel at the sight of the first human on the moon. The giant leap in science and technology that made the lunar landing possible, spurred a growth of innovation throughout the world, the results of which we still see today. What was science fiction only 50 years ago has become reality: computers, the Internet, self-driving cars, and smart phones which put into your hands more computing power than was available on Apollo 11.
The United States cherishes our friendship and partnership with Romania, and as we celebrate our 243rd birthday here in Romania, I look forward to continuing and expanding that friendship and partnership.