'Freedom Day' in Poland

4th June 2014 – the 25th Anniversary of the partly free elections in Poland which started the new era of democracy in the Central Eastern Europe. Among invited guests were: President Barack Obama, Joachim Gauck, Francois Hollande and President-elect Petro Poroshenko.

‘The European language of Freedom is Polish (…)’ – said President of the Federal Republic of Germany at a meeting with Polish youth born in 1989. He also stressed that ‘the signal sent by Poles gave a courage to the GDR inhabitants’.

Francois Hollande, together with Polish Minister of Culture and Polish and French Ambassadors opened an exhibition: "Solidarite France Pologne" which marks French support for the Solidarity movement in Poland.

‘Twenty-five years ago today, we witnessed a scene that had once seemed impossible - an election where, for the first time, the people of this nation had a choice. The Communist regime thought an election would validate their rule or weaken the opposition. Instead, Poles turned out in the millions.(…) . It was the beginning of the end of Communism - not just in this country, but across Europe.’ – said President Barack Obama during his speech at the Castle Square in Warsaw, Poland.

He added that ‘We must never forget that the spark for so much of this revolutionary change, this blossoming of hope, was lit by you, the people of Poland.’

‘We remember how, when an Iron Curtain descended, you never accepted your fate. When a son of Poland ascended to the Chair of Saint Peter, he returned home, and here, in Warsaw, he inspired a nation with his words - “there can be no just Europe without the independence of Poland.” And today we give thanks for the courage of the Catholic Church and the fearless spirit of Saint John Paul II.(…)

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Poland’s membership in NATO. We honor Polish service in the Balkans, in Iraq and Afghanistan. And as Americans, we are proud to call Poland one of our strongest and closest allies. (…)

It’s a wonderful story, but the story of this nation reminds us that freedom is not guaranteed. And history cautions us to never take progress for granted. On the same day 25 years ago that Poles were voting here, tanks were crushing peaceful democracy protests in Tiananmen Square on the other side of the world. The blessings of liberty must be earned and renewed by every generation -- including our own. This is the work to which we rededicate ourselves today.(…)

I know that throughout history, the Polish people were abandoned by friends when you needed them most. So I’ve come to Warsaw today - on behalf of the United States, on behalf of the NATO Alliance - to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to Poland’s security. Article 5 is clear -- an attack on one is an attack on all. And as allies, we have a solemn duty - a binding treaty obligation - to defend your territorial integrity. And we will. We stand together - now and forever - for your freedom is ours. Poland will never stand alone. But not just Poland -- Estonia will never stand alone. Latvia will never stand alone. Lithuania will never stand alone. Romania will never stand alone.’

And as we’ve been reminded by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, our free nations cannot be complacent in pursuit of the vision we share - a Europe that is whole and free and at peace. We have to work for that. We have to stand with those who seek freedom. ‘

Full text of Barack Obama's speech

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