President Armen Sarkissian’s address on Armenia's Independence Day
Tuesday, 21 September, 2021, 10:18
Dear compatriots, Dear citizens of the Republic of Armenia, Today is the 30th anniversary of declaring the independence of the Republic of Armenia. It occurs in a critically difficult situation, with many problems and challenges. It occurs on the eve of the completion of the first year of the disastrous war, in the conditions of pain for the loss of thousands of young people, uncertain destinies of our compatriots in captivity or the unknown, incurable wounds of our souls and bodies, and interrupted dreams. It occurs at a time when together with the world, we have to fight the coronavirus. It occurs at a time when the country is in great need of our united shoulders, our minds, and our joint efforts, when there is a need to understand and defend our identity more deeply, when we strongly need unity and listening to each other, understanding, mutual respect and tolerance, sharing pain, and supporting each other. As it is today, it was also a difficult period for our people thirty years ago, and again there was the same question: shall we be able to overcome it and how? And we did overcome. On September 21, 1991, we turned our dream of many years into reality with the independent Republic of Armenia. Moreover, nobody gave us independence. We tried, we fought, and we achieved. We achieved it not only at the cost of our will and devotion but also at the expense of the lives of many of our compatriots. I once again bow to the memory of all those who sacrificed themselves for the independence, sovereignty, freedom, and security of Artsakh. I extend my most profound respect to all those who have contributed to the achievement of independence.
Dear compatriots, For thirty years, due to various objective and subjective reasons, we have not been able to fully realize the opportunity provided by independence, develop our victory and success. Everything seemed to be there for it, from the dream to the idea, from the excitement to the will, from the experience of the past to the pursuit of the future. Meanwhile, today it turns out that we did not appreciate what we had. Moreover, we underestimated both the gains and the losses. We have used our spirit not so much for creating real success as for rejoicing in the desired success. The blow received about thirty years later, unfortunately, was in the form of a new war... Today, the history of our country, the people, the present, and the future are intertwined. We must learn from the past. At the same time, we must not let the past hinder us from moving forward. National security is and will remain the most significant issue for our Homeland for a long time. We must do everything we can to strengthen our security system. Without a strong security system, there can be no development or progress. We must make more efforts for the future development of our Motherland, Armenia, and Artsakh. But first, we must assess and realize the vital value of an independent state realistically, not emotionally. Statehood becomes a reality when it lives in us, in our work, in our way of life, in our family, and in our way of thinking. We must have a clear national and state agenda, vision and program, which must also guide our actions in the contacts with our partners and international relations, in general. We need a deep awareness of our national identity and statehood. We need unity to make our Homeland a safe, defensive, strong, and healthy state in all respects. We need patience and awareness to realize that difficulties are temporary, and we can overcome them. We need farsightedness to see new opportunities even in the current situation. We need realism and a revaluation of reality. It is not only the state that needs restarting but also our feeling of statehood and the awareness of the consequences of the possible danger of losing it. We must get out of the situation with our heads held high, our backs straight, and move forward: in an atmosphere of solidarity, tolerance, and national accord, with the courage to look into each other's eyes with dignity, straight, and honestly, with the persistence in renouncing pretence and populism, and taking actual steps, with the aim of making our Homeland, Armenia and Artsakh, secure and prosperous. History remembers both defeats and victories. We must be able to live as a state, as a people, and as a society in such a way that to make history testify about us only through achievements and victories. Independence Day unites all of us, from Armenia to Artsakh and the Diaspora. May this sense of unity help us achieve our national, pan-Armenian and state goals. May God protect our Homeland, our people in Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora.