Spirit of Chicago Evokes American Experience in Brussels

Posted by Kallie Knutson
July 4, 2009
Chicago Skyline

Secretary Clinton's 4th of July MessageAbout the Author: Kallie Knutson serves at the U.S. Mission to the European Union.

The annual Fourth of July celebration is special in Brussels. It is a “tri-Mission” event, noting that Brussels is home to three official U.S. representations, the U.S. Mission to NATO, the U.S. Mission to the European Union, and , of course, the United States Embassy to the Kingdom of Belgium. Accordingly, our celebration gathers guests from 27 member states of the EU and 28 members of NATO (many of which they share in common), and many celebrants from Belgian government, non-profit, academic, and media organizations. Brussels is also home to more than 1,000 international media and the largest number of think tanks in a single European city! This makes for an incredibly multi-cultural July 4.

For this year’s theme, we selected “Chicago” to show off a great American city and express support for its bid for the 2016 Olympics. But how does one reflect the vibrant spirit of Chicago in a party at the Ambassador’s residence in Belgium? The party planning committee thought big. After much preparation and inevitable last-minute adjustments, stunning 9-square meter photos of Chicago, highlighting Chicago’s past and present, adorned the 18th century residence, and an expanded banner of the Chicago skyline is neighbor to the Park Royal. Suspended at rue Zinner, it displayed to passersby our pride in a great American city and our celebration of our nation’s birth.

In-house, the unique character of a tri-Mission event was also in high evidence. Which Ambassador or Chargé speaks first on the program? In what order should the band play the various anthems? How many invitations does each mission send out? Procurement, construction, assembly, and securing the necessary donations further kept us busy. The party planners were a diverse set — political officers, local employees, public affairs officers, economic officers, management specialists, and interns — and through planning for this event, we discovered new ways to get in touch with our creative sides in celebrating the United States and Chicago with Brussels.

The final reception on July 2 at rue Zinner was a hit, as more than 500 guests marked our holiday and recalled their own special — and quite varied — memories of the United States: studies at our universities, tours of duty at military, diplomatic, or media postings, business exchanges, or driving down Route 66 with a special “Route 66” tie to prove it.



Florida, USA
July 4, 2009

Susan in Florida writes:

Happy 4th of July, America!! A day to remind us what we are really about...generosity of spirit, love of freedom, and a genuine desire to help others, here at home and around the world. A special word of thanks goes out to all the U.S. Embassy officers and employees who work everyday to make things better in spite of the conflicts going on around them. Not easy to do. Also, a BIG salute to all our troops who have helped to make this a peaceful 4th. Godspeed.

South Korea
July 5, 2009

Palgye in South Korea writes:


first doing is

health care reform..

July 6, 2009

Solomon in Madagascar writes:

Mr President of the United States of the America
Mr Prime Ministre of the United States of the America
Mm Clinton Secretary of the Dep of State gov
The all Commadeur and soldier of the defence USA
The all people of the USA.

Happy Indepandece day Mr President and the all people of the United States of the America to be us security defence and politic and diplomacy international are stabilize and enssure and waranty total. Thank for your prudent accept receive the President Rusian union on brotherly total ,thank Mr President because us gestion of war and security defence are confurme for enssure total. We must winner
To be the terrorism not stop sabotage us corespondence the comunication defence of the United states of the America Confurme us iself and check and localize approache the all point security defence and center nuclear in Europe use for we can must winner in all action need for iself and to defend the world Nation on war and armement terrorism nuclear for confurme us work deliver us true peace and for we can participle war on terrorism in all action intercontunnetal and use for we can Building us projectUnion Inter United States to be I'm hope us U.S-Spacial force are already ready execution us mission for destroy total the all Center and point strategy security defence nuclear in Europe.
We need wait us give ordeur high precision for to begin us hard war on terrorism nuclear. to be we need never change us position for Protection the Madagascar Nation on high system technology security defence on Anti-Mussil and Inter-Mussil as far as I'm give us new ordeur for to begin us hard war on terrorism.
Mr President i'm confidence of you and the United states People and Defence.
Thank very much
The God us protege
Your coperation


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