Distinguished recipients of state honours, ladies and gentlemen,
Today, on behalf of the Latvian State, we are honouring you, people whose dedication, professionalism and role in public life of our country deserves the highest praise.
We are bowing our heads to your meritorious and faithful service to Latvia.
Latvia was created and continues to evolve because of us all. We live in a safe and free land built by all previous generations. Free and safe is the way we, and you, dear recipients, of course, are keeping it today as well.
We live in a country that respects the rule of law and rights of every of its residents. In a country where we can freely speak our mind, gather and stand by our own beliefs.
Our right to self-determination has long become a given. Because we are a free and democratic country that follows the rule of law.
On an everyday basis, democracy is ‘part of our environment’, like air that we breathe.
But we should not take it as a given. These freedoms are being stomped out one by one in our immediate neighbourhood, Russia, as we speak. By Putin’s autocratic regime.
Another vivid example is Ukraine. Its people are ready to give their lives in a fight for their personal and national freedom.
Ukrainians are fighting for the same values that West, we, have chosen to defend. Ukrainians are opposing the enemy that we, Latvians, have faced off several times ourselves in the 20th century as we struggled for our independence.
We will always continue to defend our freedoms and values. Militarily, politically and civically. We know the significance of these freedoms and that is why we help Ukraine.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Satversme, our constitution that turns 100 years in 2022, provides broad rights and many obligations to our citizen with regard to our state and the way it is run. As a citizen of Latvia, you act as its ‘public official’.
And you, ladies and gentlemen, are the ones who carry out these duties to the best of your abilities.
Today’s recipients include medical professionals who keep fighting for lives and survival of Latvian people, thus exhibiting enormous dedication and courage, while also passing their skills down to next generations of healthcare professionals.
We also have key figures for our culture and art. People whose creative contribution to our culture is invaluable. People whose talent and work have made Latvia and the whole Europe culturally a lot richer.
Thank you to all of you for dedication your professional and everyday life to Latvian language, literature and culture. Thank you for all the research on our folklore and achievements that have won the highest international acclaim.
Thank you to our armed force soldiers, National Guard units and those who protect our borders. Your courage and professional services make Latvia strong and secure. Thank you to all the policemen, firefighters, rescue service members who serve our people.
Thank you to those who made the rule of law and judicial efficiency stronger in Latvia.
Thank you to all municipal experts who take care of their communities and promote national identity. Thank you thriving cities and countryside. Thank you to all activists, regional studies experts and those who protect our heritage.
Today’s recipients include people who helped Latvia make decisive steps in regaining its national independence 30 years ago. Thank you all!
But this is by no means the end of our journey. Your experience, knowledge and loyalty will forever remain in the collective memory of Latvia.
Thank you all for keeping Latvia strong and free!