Independence is "especially precious” for the nation, which "withstood the world’s almost all empires’ attacks and occupation”, which "often were lasting dozens and hundreds of years,” President Saakashvili said in his speech outside the Parliament ahead of military parade marking Independence Day.
"But despite that, our nation has not been broken, it has not surrendered its shield and sword… has not given up dreaming about independence and freedom and defeated enemy at every occasion; defeated with the fact that empires died out and they found place only on the pages of history [textbooks], while Georgia still exists,” Saakashvili said in a thirteen-minute long speech.
"We are the privileged nation, as only few nations had this happiness to fight for defending independence,” he said.
"Up to now, not a single generation has managed to make our independence eventual and irreversible… Generations living today have an honor… and a chance to become the first in the history of our country, who will break that ill luck and who will create guarantees for Georgia’s eternal independence.”
"Independence means to have the right to choose our future, to determine the course of our development, to plan our foreign policy, to choose friends and alliances,” he said.
"We say a firm no to be governed by external force. Only the independence of state is adequate to our Georgian and Caucasian dream of future.”
"Our independence today is confronted by the empire. There are forces, which plan and spare no efforts to defeat us in this great battle for freedom.”
"Now their followers have emerged among us, calling on us to give up our dream about independence; they say that obedience and absence of rights is the only way for our survival and existence; according to their logic, the only response, which Georgia should give is… to reject national dignity; according to their logic and philosophy, if the enemy is strong, resistance has no sense, but the Georgian, multi-century gene has rather different philosophy,” Saakashvili said.
"Today the struggle for maintaining our independence depends on how successful we will be in the process of building of the Georgian statehood, how successfully we will implement reforms, how successfully we will modernize our country, whether we will continue the integration of our country into European and Euro-Atlantic structures; how quickly we will be established as a modernized, modern European nation again… whether we will maintain our independence from corruption, clanship; whether we will create new jobs for our people; how protected our society will be against criminal and violence; how stable the environment will be and how united our people will be; how firm the state machinery and law enforcement agencies will be and how strong our army will be.”
He said that the military parade was not "a saber-rattling”; sound of marching Georgian army "is sound of heartbeat of the Georgian statehood,” Saakashvili said.
"Critics, who are irritated while looking at these Georgian soldiers marching at the parade, and who, unfortunately, thwarted holding of parade last year, claim that what is happening on the Rustaveli Avenue today [reference to military parade] is nothing but saber-rattling and just our whim,” he said.
"Listen to the sound of marching Georgian army and military hardware. This is not the sound of saber-rattling, my friends; this is the sound of heartbeat of the Georgian statehood. No matter how hard the enemy tries to stop this heartbeat, it will never manage to do it.”
"Those, who wanted to take away our independence, failed to understand that during recent years we have created a multi-functional state, which serves to the people, national interests and manages to protect national interests; they cannot understand that for us the firmness of institutions is more important, than personal wellbeing… and corruptive wealth.”
"Our institutions are as firm as never; our economy, despite all difficulties, great hardship and unemployment still stays on the path of revival; European integration is proceeding and acquiring an irreversible character. Our independence is irreversible and nothing will be able to stop it,” Saakashvili said.
After the military parade, the President inaugurated a 48-meter long heroes monument with about 3,500 names of those who fell in fight for Georgia’s independence starting from 1921, when the Bolshevik Red Army invaded Georgia, inscribed on the monument.
"There would not have been the Georgian capital and our flags would not have been flying proudly, if Vladimir Putin implemented his plans in 2008,” Saakashvili said at the memorial inaugural ceremony.
Saakashvili, who at the ceremony was dressed in the Georgian army uniform, said "we should spare no efforts” to avoid inscribing more names on the memorial.
"But if we want Georgia to exist, we all should be ready to put on this uniform [referring to his military uniform], we all should be ready to take arms in decisive moment and we all should be ready to fall on our land and ready to inscribe our names on these empty parts of this monument. That is a genetic code and historic experience of our country and a major guarantee of our future,” Saakashvili said.