20th August 2015

Speech of President János Áder at the passing out ceremony of officer cadets at Kossuth square

Hungarians celebrating a millennium of statehood,
Hungarians here and abroad,
My fellow compatriots,

Ever since the beginnings of time, Man has longed for freedom, happiness and has wanted to live in safety.
The desire for security is a characteristic that people are born with.
It is our fundamental aspiration to create our individual and common security.

A good state can provide indispensable assistance in our life by creating transparent, predictable security frameworks that we all consider our own and that we all respect.

Our forefathers led by our King Saint Stephen must have been driven by the very same objective when more than a thousand years ago they began to create the independent, Christian state of Hungary.
Saint Stephen and the monarchs succeeding him hoped that they were creating secure and lasting frameworks for Hungarians.

Their work has proven to be lasting. It has lasted and it is exemplary.

This is so because the successive generations of Hungarians have always found a way to preserve and to renew Saint Stephen’s legacy.

Even if during the course of their history Hungarians may have felt on more than one occasion that the gates of hell have opened, and many a time they felt the threat that having suffered the turmoils of history, they will be left behind as a nation gutted and deprived of its self-esteem. Throughout our struggles we could only rely on our own resources, we could only count on ourselves.

Despite all this, we Hungarians never gave up.

When somebody levelled it, we rebuilt our country.

When somebody took it away, we reclaimed our independence.

When somebody deprived us of it, we got our freedom back.

When threatened, we defended our security.

In order to have a country that we can always count on.

In order to have a country that can always count on us.

All the generations before us took part in this effort.

After the Mongol invasion 800 years ago and the devastation caused by the Ottoman Empire 300 years ago, but even after the destruction of World War I, when we had to create a new homeland on the ruins of the historic Hungary.

When after World War II – a generation later – we had to rebuild everything that was left of our looted villages, our destroyed cities, our blown up bridges and railways.

The example of our great grandparents, grandparents and parents is the best testament to the power of creative and cohesive strength.
It is thanks to their efforts that our country was rebuilt every time it was devastated.

We owe them gratitude for creating our security again and again.
Then came the era, in which we thought that after all the individual and common efforts we can embed the security of our country and thus our own personal lives in a stable framework once and for all.

Our successful accession to NATO and later to the European Union realized the dreams of generations before us. We had every right to hope that from then on we could live in a safe world, in which we do not have to fear external threats. We rightfully hoped that after achieving the freedom and independence of western countries, we can also join them in the welfare that they enjoy. For long it seemed that after the reunification of Europe and the end to years of opposition and uncertainty we were facing decades of cooperation and security.

However the financial crisis of 2008 and the political, social changes of the past decades have shown clearly that this hope was only an illusion. This world now is less and less reminiscent of our world even 10 years ago.

There are different dangers looming over our security. 10 years ago nobody would have thought that the threat of a cold war would return to Europe. Who would have thought that within a decade the euro-zone would start creaking and that the European Union would be faced with 21st century challenges to which 20th century solutions provide no response? Who would have thought that the time may come when a rogue terrorist state may keep half the world at bay?
Who would have thought that the shadow of this threat could reach as far as Europe?


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