11 listopada 2021

They don't have side-tripes but grey uniforms

They don't have either silver or gold,

But they go fight in first row,

Infantry, the grey infantry.

Dear Compatriots!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

On the National Independence Day, remembering the words of this legionary song, we think about those who did so much to bring back the Republic of Poland to the map of Europe. We remember the heroes - often unknown by name and surname – who with their heroic deeds, soldier's bravery in military action, and with their own blood regained and defended free Poland. It was the "grey infantry" mentioned in the song that won freedom and saved our Home Country one hundred years ago. Our compatriots, ancestors and predecessors living a century ago have stood as a role model, valid to-date, which we - their contemporary successors in the historical relay race of generations – are following.

Today more than ever before do we appreciate the courage, valour and patriotism of all those serving on our border. In recent days, our country has been the target of a hybrid attack, masterminded by Alexander Lukashenko's KGB. The dictatorship does not shrink from brutal abuse of migrants from the Middle East to destabilise the situation in Poland and in the European Union. This is the result of the consistent and planned policy of the Lukashenko regime, which did not flinch from rigging the presidential elections, from repression, from shooting at its own people and imprisoning thousands of opposition activists, and from blatant violations of human rights.

Our Border Guards, soldiers and policemen and women, are defending today the territory of the Republic of Poland - the eastern border of the European Union and NATO. I am grateful to them for their professionalism and determination. That is why today, on this symbolic occasion, I have been on the border with Belarus, to thank them personally on my own behalf and on behalf of millions of Poles for their commitment and dedicated service. On this special day, as we remember the heroes of Independence, let us also remember the Border Guard officers, soldiers, police and servicemen and women from other formations who defend our borders. Their uniform, which epitomizes service to the nation, deserves the respect of all compatriots.

I appeal to politicians and the media to show responsibility. Your words and actions have an enormous impact not only on the developments at the border, but also on whether the Polish state and society will come out of this situation stronger, or whether we will let others decide on our issues. We have repeatedly declared our readiness to provide humanitarian aid to migrants who find themselves on the territory of Belarus. Each time, the Lukashenko regime rejected our proposals. The convoy, which the government directed to the border at my personal request, was not allowed into Belarus.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I can assure you that Poland is prepared to repel this action perpetrated by the services of the Lukashenko regime. Our Border Guards, the Polish Army, the Police and other services are on high alert. I am in constant and direct contact with the leaders of countries in our region, as well as with partners from the North Atlantic Alliance and the European Union. The stance taken by the Republic of Poland meets with full support and understanding there.

We cannot consent to the illegal crossing of the Polish border. Allowing even a small number of migrants to enter illegally, or failure to come up with adequate response, would have dramatic consequences both for us and for the entire European Union. Tens or even hundreds of thousands of people deceived by Mr Lukashenko would storm the Polish border. This would mean yet more human misery and tragedy.

Dear Compatriots!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

The situation on the border with Belarus has clearly demonstrated that it is necessary to construct a permanent barrier to fend off this type of aggression more effectively. Therefore, as President of the Republic of Poland, I have signed without delay a bill passed by the Parliament providing for the construction of such barriers. Today, no one responsible could put in doubt the decision of quicker modernization of the Polish army and uniformed services, as much as that on the creation of the Territorial Defence Force back in 2017 was. Only efficient and modern Armed Forces, which are part of NATO, can defend us if the need arises.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Today Poland is a safe and stable country, ready to fulfil its obligations towards partners and allies. The realization of the fact fills us with pride and joy. We, citizens of free Poland, owe our peace, security and prosperity to those who serve the nation. For this we owe to them gratitude and respect - respect that should transcend any differences existing among us, as citizens of a democratic state.

Respect for the uniform is tantamount to respect for the sovereign Home Country. It is respect for the Republic of Poland, which unites us all into one community. Because Poland is our shared home. Let us take good care of it and remember about those who defend and guard it, who serve our country and each of us, day in day out. Let us give them our support them and show solidarity with them. In the name of the Independent Poland.

Dear Compatriots!

I am addressing you on a special day, the National Independence Day. Let us remember every day about respect for the Polish uniform. Long live Poland!