“This July 4th marks a new independence: a break with the despair we have all felt for so long and the start of a chapter of hope in our history,” said the first lady in Cape Elizabeth. “Finally, finally, America is reunited again. “
Biden was visiting Maine and New Hampshire on Saturday to celebrate a holiday weekend largely free from the chains of the coronavirus and to tout the role of the current administration in achieving that freedom. As part of the America’s Back Together tour, President Biden visited Michigan this weekend.
Governor Janet Mills, who introduced Biden with U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree, Portland Mayor Kate Snyder, Maine House President Ryan Fecteau and Cape Elizabeth City Council Chairman James Garvin, also noted the dual significance of independence after the tribulations of 2020.
“It is so fitting that we not only celebrate Independence Day with the usual patriotic spirit – barbecues and parades and all that – but also our independence, our growing independence from this horrific pandemic,” said Mills. “I’m proud to say that Maine is one of the safest places in the country (and) our country is one of the safest places in the world, which makes Maine one of the safest places. in the world. “
Mills thanked the Biden administration for its partnership to provide vaccines to anyone who wants them in Maine, helping the state achieve one of the highest vaccination rates in the country. The governor noted that Maine’s state of civil emergency ended on Wednesday, adding, “We’re back on track. “
As of Sunday morning, Maine had administered the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to 66.63% of people 12 and older, the current eligible population, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mills also noted the importance of the landmark that stood behind her. Portland Head Light was completed in 1791 by order of President George Washington, with funding authorized by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton – an example of government projects providing lasting benefit to the people the Biden administration follows, Mills said. .
This government aid includes the US bailout, a massive relief program put in place by the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress. Maine expects to receive a total of $ 4.5 billion from the plan, which will go to everything from unemployment benefits and coronavirus testing capacity to small businesses, local government and many other areas .
“It is because of the Biden administration that we have been able to accomplish all that we have been able to accomplish,” Mills said.
Biden thanked Mills, in turn, for his “decisive” action in the fight against the virus and his partnership throughout the pandemic.
“When COVID arrived in Maine, you acted so quickly and decisively to protect the people of this state,” Biden said. “The President and I are very grateful for your partnership. “
The first lady encouraged those present to stop and observe what was going on around them: a group of perhaps a hundred people, gathered tightly outside, most of them without masks, and yet without fear of the virus.
“Just a few months ago – think about it – it was hard to believe we would actually be able to be together on July 4th, right? ” she said. “But here we are. … We come back to the things we love. I mean, think about it – hug. Kiss the people we love. Find our friends, face to face. Smile at strangers.
Biden added, “Doesn’t the air smell so much sweeter without our masks? And the sun – OK, it’s not here today, but it’s almost here – doesn’t it seem brighter without the shadow of the virus darkening our every thought? And doesn’t the murmur of the crowd sound like music after being isolated and alone? “
After the first lady’s remarks, she and the other dignitaries mingled with the crowd, shaking hands and handing out baked cookies at the White House. Pingree presented Biden with two seabags, popular tote bags made in Maine and made from sailcloth, with “FLOTUS” sewn on one side and the old Maine pine flag on the other. .
Later that day, Biden was due to travel to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to meet with members of the New Hampshire National Guard and their families, as well as the Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen.