More than 300 people were invited to the event, which took place in the Grand Kremlin Palace’s St George Hall. Attending the reception were Heroes of the Russian Federation, Heroes of the Soviet Union, holders of the Order of Saint George, holders of the Order of Glory, and heads of state government bodies.
Russia marks the Heroes of the Fatherland Day since 2007. The date, December 9, commemorates the Russian historical tradition of honouring the holders of the Order of Saint George, which was established on this day in 1769. The order was re-established as the country’s highest military decoration by the Presidential Executive Order of August 8, 2000.
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Speech at official reception marking Heroes of the Fatherland Day
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends,
Today, Russia is marking the Heroes of the Fatherland Day. We are honouring those who have especially distinguished themselves in the military field, made a great contribution to strengthening our country’s security, and performed acts of courage.
Our people have always honoured and remembered their heroes. We see the visible evidence here on the walls of this ceremonial hall, upon which are engraved in gold the thousands of legendary names of the holders of Russia’s highest military decoration, the Order of Saint George. The St George ribbon has become the symbol of military valour and the symbol of victory. It binds us with an invisible thread to our glorious forebears, who spared no effort and not even their own lives for the sake of their country.
Our people’s heroism is of a special kind. It is not for show but is sincere and comes from the heart and from love for one’s land. It is based on the high moral principles that each of us holds dear and that have taken solid root in our genetic memory and become part of our national character. This explains why Russia’s history is so full of examples of a truly popular, mass heroism that has come through as such a powerful and irrepressible force in times of trial and hardship.
The generation of those who fought in the Great Patriotic War deserve the title of true heroes. The feats of our fathers and grandfathers will always remain for us a moral beacon and the highest expression of genuine patriotism. This is the tradition of courage, duty, and a high sense of civic responsibility. New generations are now continuing, preserving and building on this tradition, and we can see this in today’s meeting. Here today are people who make our country deservedly proud – Heroes of the Soviet Union, Heroes of the Russian Federation, and holders of the Order of Glory and the Order of Saint George.
All of you, representatives of different generations, professions and ethnic groups, all share one thing in common: you all serve Russia. Through your acts, your work and your example you prove that you are fighting, creating and working for the good of others, for our country’s good, and this is the highest reward of all. Happiness is to live and achieve in one’s own homeland, to be its citizen and patriot.
I want to say thank you very much to each and every one of you, and to congratulate you on this occasion, the Heroes of the Fatherland Day. Congratulations!