09, 2008

Address by President Serzh Sargsyan on the occasion of the 17th Anniversary of Independence

Dear Compatriots:
I congratulate all of us on the occasion of the 17th Anniversary of our independence.

Today is conceivably our main state holiday. Seventeen years ago our collective will turned the dream of the generations of our nation into the irreversible reality.
Restoration of the Armenian statehood was a historic imperative. Our people had never come to terms with losing independence. We couldn’t come to terms because our historians and writers said centuries ago that captivity and rule of invaders were unlawful.
Seventeen years ago, the citizens of the Republic of Armenia, who gave their votes for independence, created the history of contemporary and future Armenia. Not incidentally on this festive day each of us poses same questions:
• What the independence has been for me?
• What have been Armenia’s achievements on this road?
• What should be our country’s course of development?
• What state traditions we will leave to our children born in freedom?
I ask myself the same question. Independence is the materialization of our dream, it is our biography, with ups and downs, strives and fights, opportunity and possibility to defend our national dignity, sacrifice, national achievements obtained through that sacrifice, and the right for all of us to share the pride of these achievements.
Independence is the right to shape our history by our will, and that independence is indispensable and indisputable.
In seventeen years we have been able to protect our country, to establish state structure, to lay foundations for growing economy, and to give a new breath to our culture, education, and health care.
Today our country is moving forward, and if there is a progress it means that there is a force behind that progress. That force is our compatriots, their work, devotion and sacrifice. That force belongs to each of us. All this makes September 21 a proud national holiday. This pride is not haughtiness at all. Our pride is not inspired by our glorious history only, or by the achievements and victories of our predecessors, it is also inspired by our state traditions which are being formed today.
Since independence we have been creating new traditions of the Armenian statehood. Along with excellent traditions there are unfortunately some which are unacceptable.
Henceforth, we are a mature state and must be able to uproot negative trends which hamper our progress, simultaneously fostering the good, values for which the generations have fought, values we cherish: freedom, democracy, and equally before the law. We will stand by those values.
Dear Compatriots:
From year to year for us freedom and independence acquire new meaning and substance. We were able to overcome difficulties and didn’t tumble. It became clear for us that only independence can give us the ability to protect the interests of Armenia and the Armenian people.
We will continue to protect those values by all possible means.
Once again I congratulate all of us on the occasion of the Independence Day and wish you all the best.
Long live the free and independent Republic of Armenia!

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