przeskocz do treści | przeskocz do menu głównego
| | |
A | A | A
Monday, 15 August 2005

Unknown Soldier Tomb Ceremony

On 15 August 2005, the President of the Republic of Poland, the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces, Aleksander Kwaśniewski took part in Polish Army Holiday celebrations staged at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
After the ceremonial change of guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the President of the Republic of Poland addressed the assembled participants:
 
Soldiers of the Polish Armed Forces,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
We are remembering a great triumph of the Polish military. The victory in the Battle of Warsaw of 1920 saved our independence and decided the fate of Europe. We are bowing our heads in tribute to the heroism, sacrifice and patriotism of all those who reported loyally when the Motherland called in the hour of need.
At that time, the Polish army and the Polish people as a whole gave a proof of their highest virtues and abilities. It was a dramatic moment. The Red Army was already drawing close to the gates of Warsaw. Defeat seemed to be hanging in the air. And a ‘Miracle on the Vistula’, as it came to be known later, occurred. But it was not a miracle. That victory had its palpable causes: the determination of the people, a suspension of political disputes, efficient command and the heroism of our soldiers. And in addition, as we already know today, the extremely effective efforts of Polish cryptologists, who succeeded in breaking the codes of the Bolshevik army.
The triumph of the reborn Republic of Poland and of the Polish Army under Józef Piłsudski is also a lesson to us, the people of our times. We take pride in this victory; it upholds us and is a lesson to us. We know that the Poles--when acting in unison and pursuing a common goal--are able to pass even the most difficult exam.
In this very special year, as we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazism, we also pay homage to all Polish citizens who were affected by the tragedy of World War II. To all those who took up arms and rendered faithful service to the Motherland at so many fronts: at home, in the West and in the East, in the North and in the South. To all those who suffered for Her. I am bowing my head in tribute to you, heroes!
I express my gratitude and offer my warmest greetings to the veterans present here today and scattered all over the world. I address especially warm words, coming from the bottom of my heart, to those Polish veterans present here among us, on this square, who live in Belarus today: from the Polish Home Army Ex-Servicemen Association and from the Association of Victims of Repression. Let us welcome them with applause!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It has been a long time since Poland enjoyed as strong an international position as it does today: within NATO and in the EU family. Let us remember, however, that freedom and sovereignty require our constant concern. Security and defence issues should unite the Poles, cutting across all sorts of divisions. They must not become a bargaining chip in any election campaign, or come to be subordinated to any party interests. This is our common good that requires a sense of responsibility from all of us. I am making this appeal today, on 15 August, on the Polish Army Day, which is a poignant symbol for the nation as a whole. Polish history has seen glorious examples of how joint action brought much good not only to Poland, but also to the entire continent of Europe. In the August of 1920, defending its independence, our country saved Europe from the advance of Bolshevism. Sixty years later, in the August of 1980, the Solidarity movement asserted human dignity and the rights of the working people. This great national rising of the Polish people paved the way for European integration, for the victory of freedom and democracy across the continent.
An open Europe, a uniting Europe is a worthy response to the burden of the evil past. To the tragedy of wars, to the gloomy experience of the two totalitarianisms, and to the dangerous rivalry between the superpowers. We owe it in part to the efforts of the Polish people that the borders diving Europeans are disappearing today. And this is the reason why our country will always advocate an ‘open-door policy’ for NATO and the European Union. There is no--I want to say it most emphatically--there is no better way to ensure lasting peace in our region and world-wide from building a common security, cooperation and confidence system.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a peaceful Europe that is our aim, a Europe of co-operation and good neighbourhood; a Europe respecting human and minority rights. That is why we are noting with concern the recent developments in Belarus. We protest strongly to the repression against the local Polish community. We expect the authorities in Minsk to fulfil their international obligations, particularly those concerning minority rights and the freedom of speech. We will demand that the Poles, just like all the other nationalities, be allowed to organise themselves freely and to elect their representatives in a sovereign way.
The acts of violence against Polish citizens in Moscow also raise our deep concern and provoke our protests. The victims of these attacks are representatives of the Polish state and the Polish media accredited in the Russian Federation. As the President of the Republic of Poland, I have received regrets from the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, as well as assurances that the Russian authorities are taking energetic steps to detect and punish the organisers and perpetrators of these attacks.
On my own part, I wish to reiterate how strongly we condemn that act of hooliganism and violence against Russian children that occurred in Warsaw, and I would like to announce that the suspects have been arrested.
We have to do our very best to eliminate radicalism from Polish-Russian relations, to eliminate tendencies towards the strengthening of negative, unwise stereotypes and prejudice. To ensure that dialogue goes on, that obstacles are removed and to build relations conducive to a good-neighbourly future.
Poland in the European Union and democratic Russia are symbols of a great, much awaited and very much needed change of the face of the earth; of the face of our entire continent.
We are resolved to build good neighbourhood. Not only between the Poles, the Belarussians and the Russians, but also between the European Union and our Eastern neighbours. That is why negative emotions should not determine our relationships. That is why we have to act prudently, bearing the long-term interests of our countries in mind. It takes years to build a good relationship, but it can be destroyed in a matter of moments. Let us not allow that to happen. Let us not give a chance to all those on both sides who, in pursuit of their own goals, have been heating up the atmosphere and using a rhetoric reminiscent of the Cold War era. This is no way for us to build a better future. If we want to pass on a Europe without divisions, without festering wounds and conflicts to the future generations, then we must choose the path of dialogue and find common ground for understanding in every possible situation.
Our relations with our neighbours are part of the EU Eastern policy. Poland’s good relations with Belarus and Russia are something that both our peoples and all Europeans need today. Poland has proven Herself capable of acting consistently in the spirit of solidarity to resolve problems in our region, as was the case during Ukraine’s ‘Orange Revolution’. Europe can rely on us; on our experience, prudence and determination in efforts to unite the continent.
But Poland is also counting on her partners from the European Union. We need a daring policy, without double standards, firmly grounded in the values making up the foundations of modern Europe: in freedom, democracy, civil rights, pluralism and tolerance.
25 years ago, the brave people of Solidarity rose to make their dreams come true, to tread upon forbidden ground, to say that black is black and white is white. To articulate the thoughts hidden for years and to sing that ‘the walls will fall, will fall, will fall!’
This took a great deal of courage. Today, European politics is no longer so demanding. What is needed in the European politics of today is sticking to one’s principles, freeing oneself from egoisms; what is needed is consistency and a vision for the future. Quite simply, what is needed is integrity and solidarity. This is what we expect and what we demand. It is Poland’s heartfelt wish to participate in such a European project. 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On the Polish Army Day, I would like to congratulate our Armed Forces on their major achievements. We have more and more units fully meeting the high NATO standards in terms of training and equipment. From a conscription army, our armed forces are being transformed into a truly professional army. Today, professional soldiers account for sixty per cent of our armed forces. In a few year’s time, this proportion will be even higher. Also, the weapons systems of all our forces have been upgraded. But it is you, the Polish servicemen, who are the most valuable weapon. Our NATO allies have been speaking of you in highest terms. They appreciate your combat capability and high levels of competence. Poland’s prestige among the Allied armies has been growing.
For over half a century, Poland has participated in peacekeeping and stabilising missions. We know from our own history what the tragedy of war is, what foreign violence, violations of a nation’s freedom and human rights and the bitterness of being left alone feel like. That is why those who are afflicted by such disasters today can count on the people of Poland. We are scattered in various places around the globe. In places where the threat of conflict is looming, where citizens have suffered from authoritarian regimes and in those places where people are trying to build a new peaceful existence on the ashes of war. Polish soldiers offer support and bring hope. In Afghanistan and in Iraq, in Syria and in Lebanon, in Kosovo, Macedonia, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our mission in Iraq has been a special challenge. We have successfully passed this test of efficiency and responsibility. We have been gradually reducing our presence in that country. Already the previous Polish contingent had been reduced by 800 troops. The present one has been reduced even further. As soon as the UN Security Council mandate expires, the stabilisation mission of the Polish troops in Iraq will come to an end. However, we will not leave the people of Iraq without our support. In keeping with the declaration adopted at the NATO Summit in Brussels, we will take part in training Iraqi police and military forces.
Combating terrorism was originally, and has been ever since, one of the prime reasons for our involvement in Iraq. This is the greatest threat of the 21st century. The tragic events in New York, Moscow, Bali, Madrid, London and Sharm al-Sheikh show that the entire international community must act in the spirit of solidarity. Poland must not stand aside from this struggle.
I am bowing my head in tribute to the sacrifice, conscientousness and courage of all the commanding officers and servicemen who have served with honour on Iraqi soil. I pay homage to those who have laid their lives there. I pay tribute and extend my warmest greetings to all those Poles in military uniform who serve the cause of peace under the white and red flag in distant regions of the world.
I address every solider of the Republic of Poland today, I address veterans and ex-servicemen, all those who guard our security under the banner of the Polish Army. I address all of you gathered here in Piłsudski Square and your colleagues, wherever they may be serving our Motherland: on land, at sea or in the air.
On behalf of our Compatriots, I offer my warmest thanks and the very best wishes to Polish soldiers. I thank the civilians employed in the army for their efforts, and all those working to strengthen our country’s defence capability. I salute the military families, your loved ones. I wish all of you success and satisfaction. May your dreams come true! We are proud of you! The Republic of Poland is grateful to you.
Recommend site
Prezydent.pl na flickr

Gallery