Today, our Ambassador and Slovenian President Borut Pahor marked Slovenian-American Friendship Day. The event is usually celebrated in Andraž nad Polzelo, but this year, the event was held appropriately to the current circumstances. In her speech, the Ambassador highlighted the importance of a strong relationship between our two countries, and thanked the people of Slovenia for their enduring friendship.
Ambassador Blanchard’s Remarks for Slovenian-American Friendship Day
6 April 2020
Good afternoon. The tradition of marking what is now Slovenian-American Friendship Day in the picturesque town of Andraz nad Polzelo is one we look forward to every spring. And while we can’t be there to commemorate it together this year, I thought it important to take a moment during this time of crisis to say how much our close relationship means to the United States.
Andraz is particularly significant because the events that transpired there, and at similar sites across Slovenia during World War II, are emblematic of our friendship today, which is deeply rooted in shared values and shared heritage. Eight American crewmembers lost their lives when the B-17 bomber ‘Dark Eyes’ was shot down over Andraž on March 19, 1944, and we thank the people of that town for continuing to keep their memory alive. At that time, we were fighting a grave threat in a struggle for freedom shared by those resisting occupation here in Slovenia. In the decades since, we have worked together to overcome challenges to regional and global security as partners and NATO allies, while our relationship expanded to create a vast network of social and economic ties that continues to flourish.
Today, the threat the coronavirus pandemic poses to our nations requires us to show that same strength in the face of adversity, demonstrate our capacity to persevere, and preserve our dedication to working together to maintain the vision of a brighter future ahead. So in the great tradition of cooperation that Slovene-American Friendship Day celebrates, we will face what comes and continue to work together to ensure a safer, more secure world. As the people of Andraz acknowledge each year by paying tribute to an important chapter in Slovene-American history, we are stronger together than we could ever be apart.
Thank you to the people of Slovenia for your enduring friendship.