23 grudnia 2005

On 23 December 2005, in Piłsudski Square, in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw, a ceremony was held of the assumption of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland by the President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Kaczyński.

Among those attending the ceremony were the Speaker of the Sejm, Marek Jurek, the Speaker of the Senate, Bogdan Borusewicz, the Prime Minister, Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, the Defence Minister, Radosław Sikorski, and the Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Army, Gen. Czesław Piątas.

The President of the Republic of Poland received a report from the Chief of Staff of the Polish Army and inspected the sub-units. Subsequently, the President of the Republic of Poland assumed the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland by kneeling down and kissing the Banner of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland.

The President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Kaczyński, delivered the following address:

I consider it a great honour to assume today, by virtue of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, the supreme command of an Army that can boast a thousand-year-old tradition. A tradition of many victories in battles and wars; a tradition of independence struggle in defence of our Homeland; a tradition of the insurgents of the four Polish uprisings; a tradition of the brigades from the First World War era; of the army of the interwar period and of the Polish Armed Forces during the Second World War. It is a beautiful tradition, a magnificent tradition, a tradition imposing deep obligations. You are the defenders of our Country and you must discharge this duty every day, with the honour becoming a Polish officer and a Polish soldier, and you must discharge it to the end.


For over 60 years now, we have been living in peacetime; yet another generation of Poles has no first-hand experience of war. I deeply hope, even more--I am sure that also the next generations of Poles will be able to live and come of age in peace. But nobody knows what future has in store, and that is why Poland needs her Armed Forces: Armed Forces operating within the North Atlantic Treaty framework, allied with a number of powerful allies, but at the same time our own, distinct, Polish, white-and-red Armed Forces. As the Defence Minister said, for years Polish troops have been fighting for, or maybe it would be better to say have been working for, serving the cause of peace. Today in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the Middle East and in the Balkans, tomorrow perhaps elsewhere. This service is a service to the international community, service to mankind. But do bear in mind, Generals, Officers, Soldiers, that this is also service to Poland. It has to be performed with courage and honour. An army is there to show courage.


I thank you for this service, thank you for all you have done so far. You may rest assured that as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, as the President of the Republic of Poland, I will always show concern for army affairs. Furthermore, I want this army, even though it is more modern today than a few or, let us say, fifteen years ago, to become even more up-to-date, to become even stronger. I will do my very best to make it happen. Thank you for your service!


The ceremony closed with the President of the Republic of Poland receiving a parade of the sub-units making up the Guard of Honour of the Polish Army.