Every July 4th, AmCham Abu Dhabi has brought together our American community for a gala celebration that is the talk of the town. However, this year presented a unique set of circumstances. The US - UAE Public Affairs Committee (USPAC) of AmCham Abu Dhabi decided to take charge in bringing together our community on America's birthday via a virtual live event to honor heroes that walk amongst us. Alongside our brave military, we honor our healthcare and education heroes who have stepped up during a pandemic that has upended our collective safety and way of life. In addition to recognizing our heroes, we emphasized the importance for overseas Americans to register to vote and participate in our democracy.
Our virtual celebration featured opening messages from our military heroes: former AmCham Abu Dhabi Chairman and retired Vice Admiral Bob Harward (SEAL), current AmCham Abu Dhabi Chairman and retired Marine Colonel Jay Huston, and AmCham Abu Dhabi’s Board Member, retired Rear Admiral Gary Rosholt (SEAL). These are the best decorated veterans whose sacrifices, bravery and service enabled the civil liberties and freedoms that we cherish today. Their messages collectively and emotionally hammered home the themes of July 4th and the cause of citizenry.
American Community School of Abu Dhabi (ACS) grad, Ella Burkett, gave a rousing live performance of the U.S. National Anthem: the Star-Spangled Banner. Down Home, Abu Dhabi's very own country duo, sang odes to recall the feeling of home.
Prior ACS board chairwoman and current AmCham Abu Dhabi Board Member, Leslie Bellas, spoke on lessons from her immigrant grandfather on what it means to be an American and promoted active engagement as a citizen. Whilst, Air Force veteran and ACS educator Michael Dickinson revealed how his counselling to our younger generation of Americans leads to thoughtful and open-minded election participation.