28 November 2018 Address of President Meta at the state ceremony of the National Flag and Independence Day
Palace of Brigades
Honorable Speaker of the Assembly of Albania Ruçi,
Honorable Prime Minister Rama,
Distinguished leaders of religious communities and faiths.
Honorable members of the Government and Assembly Members and representatives of independent institutions,
Honorable President Stipe Mesić,
Excellences Ambassadors accredited in Tirana,
Honorable compatriots from Kosova, Macedonia, Montenegro,
Presheva Valley and from our Diaspora,
Distinguished representatives of media, science, art and culture,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen!
We are gathered tonight to celebrate together November 28th, the Independence Day of the Albanian State, tour Flag Day, our main national holiday!
It is a date that makes us proud of the struggle and sacrifices of our people throughout the centuries.
It is an event that makes us feel happy for our valiant, witty and knowledgeable Renaissance men who made Albania independent in one of the most difficult periods of its history.
It is a historical moment that unites us more than ever in the path of freedom, independence, sovereignty and all-round progress.
This year we celebrate the Flag Day under the echo of the commemorations of the life and deeds of our National Hero, Georg Kastrioti Scanderbeg.
The history and deed of Skanderbeg is as much Albanian, as a European one, which demonstrates the immense knots of the Albanians with Europe as an inseparable part of it.
I experienced this feeling also in the wholehearted meetings with our brothers and sisters of the same blood with Italy’s Arbëresh and Arbanas of Zadar, exactly during this jubilee year of the 550-th anniversary of Our National Hero’s “ascend to eternity.”
More than ever before, this year, the two magnificent 28th Novembers of the Year were joined together: the November 28th of 1443 in Kruja and November 28th of 1912, when the unchallenged and unparalleled statesman Ismail Qemali raised the red and black Flag in glorious Vlora.
These two November 28th, are essentially and inextricably linked to one other, as the integral continuation of a history, identity, culture, language, dreams, and aspirations of the Albanian people.
Nestled between the two historic November 28th, this jubilee year resurrected in the memory of the Albanian people one of the greatest monuments of our journey to Independence – the 140th anniversary of the Albanian League of Prizren.
This year we commemorated with special respect and gratitude and homage the 110th anniversary of the 1908 Monastery Congress, which provided the Albanians with a common alphabet of Albanian language as a European language.
The Monastery Congress testified that our best sons and daughters fought by holding rifle and pen, arms and culture, by sheding blood and gaining knowledge
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
The smart and wise and successful nations are those who know how to boast and be proud of historical values, but also those who know how to learn lessons from their history.
History is a great book.
It’s a reminder for all generations.
History is filled with lessons not to be ever forgotten.
It’s full of values to be preserved, maintained and developed.
In its historical and cultural journey, the Albanian people are one of the most autochthonous and authentic identities in the Balkans and throughout Europe.
If history, unmercifully and unjustly attempted to separate us, with the restless fights, sacrifices and efforts, the Albanian people managed to survive as a historical and cultural identity to these very days.
Times have changed, but the patrimony of identity and cultural values and also that of state-founding principles left behind and inherited by our National Hero Skanderbeg all the way to Ismail Qemali and many other bright partiers of our national Renaissance are appealing and actual to this very day.
The return of Albania and Albanians to the family of European values is a still to be fulfilled and met mission for us.
The modern epoque of globalism with all its benefits in economic developments and technological progress, carries on threats and dangers posed to the cultural and identity of nations and peoples.
We, are one of the peoples with the highest level of emigration in the world, but fortunately we have managed to nurture and transmit from generation to generation, everywhere we live, the love and affection for our motherland and national identity, for our language and culture, for the traditions and habits of our forefathers. Therefore our Diaspora at the present day represents and extraordinary asset of the Albanian nation.
We must make every effort for Albanian not to be downsized by the emigration eradicating every day the energies and potential of Albanian youth, and tighter with it the revitalizing and irreplaceable capacity needed for tomorrow’s advancement and progress of the country.
This is a sounding alarm bell to the political class, to offer trust and faith, better, fast and more sustainable security and means to the youths and most creative forces of our society.
The actual challenges we are living through require a cooperative climate, high unity feeling and national responsibility as well.
Albanians need to strengthen the democratic coexistence, a constructive political climate for a social peace where the respect of freedoms, rights and human dignity should be the priority of all.
We all need to reflect, for a more cooperative environment, inclusive, for more judicial security about property, for the work and human rights.
The functioning of the Rule of Law and independent institutions require sustainable dialogue and cooperation between the ruling majority and opposition.
Albania is our beloved and blessed Fatherland, with its natural beauties, with its rich assets and its extraordinary human energies and talent.
Hope and enthusiasm were the dominant features of Albanians and their leaders during the dark and tragic centuries of history.
We still need hope and enthusiasm more than ever to motivate and revive new and more positive energies towards the European future of Albania.
Hope and enthusiasm keep alive the strengthening of national unity; fuel fast and secure steps towards opening accession negotiations in the European Union; rigorous respect for the Constitution and the law; uncompromising fight against organized crime and corruption; strengthening of independent institutions and democracy; fair economic and social development; contribution to peace, stability and security in the region and around the world; dignified attitude alongside the strategic allies, the United States and the European Union.
A free, sovereign, democratic and developed Albania, fully integrated into the European family, represents a source of pride and inspiration for all of our fellow citizens everywhere in the world.
Therefore, on this great day of national unification, I would like to wish to all Albanians: A Happy Independence Day, the Flag Day!