CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti -- Ambassador Donald Y. Yamamoto, U.S. ambassador to Djibouti, and the staff of the U.S Embassy hosted a gathering of 300 distinguished guests here Feb. 17 in an evening celebration of American National Day.
Maj. Gen. John F. Sattler, commander, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) and fellow U.S. Marine, Col. Mario Lapaix, the new camp commander, welcomed guests as they arrived at Camp Lemonier. The camp is home to nearly 1,300 service members supporting the Global War on Terrorism in the Horn of Africa region.
American National Day is an annual event commemorating a number of traditional American celebrations and holidays including President's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Black History Month and American Independence Day.
Sattler commented that the real spirit of the event was, "to give all the ambassadors and visitors from the different countries a good taste of America. We hold this celebration to remember Presidents' Day and the contributions men like Washington and Lincoln made to liberty, freedom and equality among all people."
The raising of the Djiboutian and American flags highlighted the celebration as an ensemble from the 2d Marine Division Band, visiting from Camp Lejeune, N.C., played the national anthems of both countries.
Yamamoto addressed the gathering, offering thanks to the U.S. military members serving here and praising the support and commitment of Djibouti and other coalition nations in the ongoing war on terrorism.
"This is significant because we wanted to bring the Djiboutians and French together, along with U.S. forces and all of the coalition partners here," said Yamamoto. He added, "I really can't say enough about the Marines and General Sattler, because without them this celebration would not have been possible."
The event, originally scheduled to take place at the U.S. Embassy, was moved to Camp Lemonier to ensure security and highlight the partnership between the U.S., Djibouti and other coalition forces here fighting terrorism throughout the Horn of Africa region.
Guests attending the celebration included Djiboutian government officials, local business leaders, coalition military officials, and prominent citizens representing a host of nationalities.