Honourable Commander of the Border Force,
Border Force officers,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Like all other state institutions, the history of our Border Force largely reflects the turning points in the history of our state. First days of Force when we proclaimed our state, followed by occupation when we lost control of our borders (but that was due to occupation) and restoration of nationhood together with reestablishment of national borders.
In these hundred years, we have had to build new Border Force twice. In these hundred years, fateful century for our nation, we had to set up borders and defend them. We did a good job on both occasion and we should be proud of the result.
Although it is time of celebration, I urge you to continue thinking about next steps and be open to continuous professional growth. You need to be ready to respond to all possible challenges.
Our membership in the European Union (EU) means that we are responsible for a section of EU’s external border. Our Eastern border with Russia and Belarus is also the Eastern border of the EU. Latvia and the whole European Union expects our Latvia Border Force to be highly professional and treat professional duties with utmost responsibility.
As Commander of the Border Force already mentioned, we are engaged not only in the protection of Latvia’s border, we also take part in operations in other parts of the EU. That is how we ensure that EU’s borders are safe.
I am convinced that you have what is needed to face the new challenges and ready to put the skills you have acquired through Latvia’s membership in the EU and controlling of external border of the EU to a good use.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Border Force officers,
You have a special responsibility for our country. It is your official duty to be on the frontline of border protection.
In my today’s speech during the parade I mentioned our officers in Maslenki post. We must pay respect to their decision to stay in position and defend the national border with weapons in their hands to the end.
We should never forget that we won independence and defended our state ourselves. We, the Latvians, won this state. During the occupation we formed the national resistance movement and demonstrated our unbreakable resolve to have our own state despite being outnumbered. And we got our freedom back.
Resistance began with Maslenki and Border Officers were the ones who ignited the spark.
I would also like to honour General Ludvigs Bolšteins, the Commander of Border Force. He should be a role model for future Latvian officers. He was in the legendary Daugavgrīva 1 Battalion of the Latvian Riflemen, fought against Bolsheviks together with other members of Frīdrihs Briedis underground movement, as soldier of Kalpaks’ Battalion took part in the War of Independence and served as the commanding officer of Balodis’ Brigade. He remained faithful to Latvia until his last breath and always approached his duties with high sense of responsibility.
We, the Latvians, have built a strong home, our state. No foreign power can force us to tear it down. We have rebuilt our state and can proudly celebrate our heroes, including General Bolšteins, officers of Maslenki post and everyone who has the difficult duty of protecting our borders day to day.
There are few historic figures who could match General Bolšteins’ military prowess and command skills. He, dear officers, was your commander throughout those tumultuous times.
Make them and other exceptional Border Force officers proud!
Today we not only mark the centenary of the Force. Today is also the birthday of Commander of Border Force, General Guntis Pujāts. Some say all coincidence happens for some kind of reason we not always know. Happy birthday, general!
I hope that under your leadership Border Force will go through a period of high standards of professional service and growth that will contribute to safer and stronger Latvia we all need.
As Border Force enters its second century, you have an opportunity to open a new chapter in the history of our nation. Let us all, us the citizens and you who protect our borders, make the most of it.
My heartfelt congratulations on the 100th Anniversary of the Latvian Border Force!
I have a small token of appreciation I would like to give to the Force as a constant symbolic reminder of the mission and professional duty you all have as members of the Border Force.
Latvia is confident in its Border Force and proud of what you have achieved.
May you always serve Latvia with pride.