On May 26 Georgia marked the 100th anniversary of the First Democratic Republic of Georgia, which could only survive for three years as Soviet Russia invaded the country in 1921.
World Congratulates Georgia on Independence Day
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, May 28
Presidents of Armenia, Lithuania, Finland, Poland and Slovakia have delivered speeches in central Tbilisi, together with Georgian top officials, dedicated to the festive day.
Parliament Speakers of Estonia, Moldova and Ukraine, Foreign Minister of France, Vice-Prime Ministers of Belarus and Romania, Vice-parliament Speaker of the Czech Republic have also arrived in Georgia to celebrate the day.
The US State Secretary Mike Pompeo, French President Emmanuel Macron and Queen Elizabeth II sent letters in Georgia to congratulate.
In his letter Pompeo spoke about the enhancement of the Georgia-US ties and praised Georgia for its merit for protection of international peace and security.
In her letter to the President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain sent her warm wishes to Georgia on the occasion.
The French president Macron stated that Georgia was part of the "collective memory and division of the European continent in 1918”, which created new states.
“However, this was also the restoration of the independence of countries with ancient history and culture,” Macron said.
“Unfortunately, in hard times, the independence of Georgia could not last long. I am proud that my country sheltered the government members of the First Democratic Republic of Georgia and their families in 1921 [when Georgia lost its independence],” Macron stated.
Macron said that in the modern era Georgia and France stood together to defend international peace.
“No one can doubt that France will continue to support Georgia on its path to Euro-Atlantic integration,” Macron said.
All the presidents who arrived to Georgia on the Independence Day praised the country for its democratic achievements and love of freedom.
“You are a hardworking people, who never complain and fight for patriotic goals. You are very brave and patient. We are friends, we are part of Europe,” Slovak President Andrej Kiska said.
The Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite addressed the audience in Georgian.
“Happy Independence Day, Georgia! From now on we call Georgia Sakartvelo, which is our symbolic gift to you. Glory to Georgia,” Grybauskaite said.
The President of Finland Sauli Niinisto stated that Georgia has achieved "great progress” for democracy and he hoped the country will stick to its European path of development.
The President of Poland, Andrzej Duda said that Georgia and his country have experienced the same hardship in the fight for independence for centuries.
“Georgia is distinguished in the regional countries for its devoutness to sovereignty and freedom,” Duda said.
The President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian stated that his people and the Georgians have lived like brothers and sisters for many centuries, without any serious conflict.
On the day the oath taking ceremony for recruits was be held at six locations in Georgia: Tbilisi, Shindisi, Vardzia, Kojori-Korogli castle, Batumi and Gelati monastery complex.
The ceremony was accompanied by the invited orchestra from Lithuania and famous Georgia opera singer Nino Machaidze. The orchestra also revived the anthem of the First Democratic Republic of Georgia-Glory. One of the units was dressed in the military clothes used during the time of First Democratic Republic of Georgia.
489 recruits have taken oath on the day.
"Sustainability of our nation makes it clear that Georgia is on the way to victory and will only move towards victory from now on,” President Giorgi Margvelashvili said while addressing the soldiers and wider society at Freedom Square.
The Georgian Prime Minister spoke about reintegration in his speech.
"Today, when the two regions of Georgia are occupied, support from our friend and partner countries has great significance and I want to express my gratitude to all of them for help. This gratitude especially goes to our major strategic partner the US, the scale of cooperation with whom is becoming unprecedented. We all together, through the way of peace and reconciliation, restoring the confidence of our Ossetian and Abkhazian brothers will reach our coveted goal to live with them in a united Georgia,” PM Kvirikashvili added.
Gala concert took place on the Rose Square at the end of the day under the title-from Glory to Freedom. Five Georgian composers presented their pieces.
The Peace Bridge and the Tbilisi tower were lit with colors of the Georgian flag.
Google placed the Georgian flag on its main page to highlight the day.