July 4, 1918.
Like today 105 years ago, Fan Noli, together with representatives of 33 nationalities, invited by President Woodrow Wilson on the presidential yacht, went to Mount Vernon, a green shore not far from Washington, to participate in the 4th of July celebrations - America's Independence Day.
There, Wilson gave a speech at the grave of President George Washington. Guests laid wreaths.
At the time, Fan Noli was president of the Vatra Federation of America in Boston. The First World War seemed to be ending soon and Albania's fate was hanging in the balance. It could be torn between neighbors.
On the way back to Washington, Wilson talked on the yacht with each of the guests.
Noli found an opportunity and told the President that if the principles he stated in his speech were to prevail, there is no doubt that Albania would also gain its rights. Wilson replied that "those principles will reign, because we fight for them".
Afterward, Noli approached First Lady Edith, who was enjoying the wide flow of the Potomac River.
This conversation took place:
FAN NOLI: Madam, the Albanians have instructed me to ask you to remember Albania, a country so poor, without friends and without any support. Yes, they do not cry for the hunger and misery they remove, but for its loss.
MRS WILSON: Yes. We are very sorry for the small nationalities like Albania, Belgium and others.
FAN NOLI: Our situation, Madam, is very confused and troubled.
At this time, President Wilson, who was talking to a diplomat nearby, intervened in the conversation.
PRESIDENT WILSON : It's really complicated.
FAN NOLI: The only hope for Albania is America and you, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT WILSON: I will have only one voice in the peace congress and I will use that voice for the rights of Albania.
FAN NOLI: That voice is enough for the Albanians and they will be deathly happy and completely sure of their rights.
PRESIDENT WILSON: (Smiles) No, don't tell the Albanians just like that, because then they will put their work to sleep. After that, they have to work a little more than ever.