Reception celebrating Heroes of the Fatherland Day 2016-12-09 12:20:00 The Kremlin, Moscow Vladimir Putin attended the traditional annual reception for Heroes of the Fatherland Day. Over 300 military personnel and civilians who have shown exceptional courage and heroism were invited to the reception. Among the attendees were Heroes of the Soviet Union, Heroes of the Russian Federation, full cavaliers of the Order of Glory, and cavaliers of the Order of Saint George. The tradition of honouring Heroes of the Fatherland was resumed following a presidential instruction in 2013. * * * President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Veterans, friends, Today Russia is celebrating the Day of Heroes of the Fatherland, those who are honoured by the highest national awards, including the Golden Stars of Hero of Russia and Hero of the Soviet Union, the Order of Glory and the Order of Saint George. Their heroic deeds symbolise selflessness, courage and loyalty to the Fatherland. Russia is proud of its heroes from all eras and generations. We are proud of everyone who has gathered here today at the historical St George Hall in the Kremlin. The history of the bravery and sacrifice of our ancestors is depicted on these walls. Valour and ability to selflessly sacrifice oneself remain among the most important qualities of the Russian national character. Heroic deeds are not accomplished for medals and orders. People risk their lives to save others. They carry out their military and civic duty to the end. They demonstrate true nobility, strong will and rigour. This country’s heroes have always had and always will have a special status and our highest regard. Years go by, even centuries, but their courage stays in people’s memory, and the historical memory of our nation. We have equal respect for the defenders of ancient Russia, the Russian Empire, the heroes of 1812 and the Great Patriotic War. We will never forget how 75 years ago, as the enemy approached Moscow, Soviet soldiers threw themselves under tanks to protect the capital. We will not forget how today Russian officers surrounded by terrorists draw fire upon themselves; how a Russian police officer, almost in front of our eyes, looking at his murderers, said the famous words, “Keep working, brothers.” We will not forget how our defenders fearlessly risk their lives to fulfill their military duty in Syria. These great examples fuel our pride for our people and our country. They strengthen our faith in the future and our love for our country. They instill in young people the aspiration to become better, braver and, if necessary, bolder, and carry out an extraordinary act of courage for the Fatherland. I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all those here and to our heroes, all of whom this hall would be too small to hold. I wish you good health and peace. Each of you has written your own brilliant chapter in Russian history. My sincere gratitude for everything you have done. I would like to propose a toast. Here is to the Heroes of the Fatherland! Here is to Russia!