President praises Polish soldiers for their service
President Andrzej Duda, his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda, Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak and army commanders in Warsaw on Tuesday took part in a Christmas meeting with soldiers, war veterans and families of soldiers killed during foreign missions.
Addressing the gathering, President Duda said that "Poland is represented in a magnificent way in every place, where Polish soldiers are stationed," and underlined that our allies highly evaluated them. "Today, we have been implementing our duties within NATO and the UN, being one of the important countries. We want to be an important country - and this means service for our state and service on the part of our soldiers," he added.
The president repeated that he was very glad to hear words of praise about Polish soldiers, their service, their attitude towards allies and residents of countries they were stationed in.
Minister Błaszczak expressed his gratitude to "all who helped the Polish army grow, have modern equipment and be a strong NATO member."
Earlier on Tuesday, Minister Błaszczak attended a meeting held in honour of soldiers who sacrificed their life for Poland. They are our heroes, he said.
Błaszczak recalled that 121 Polish soldiers had lost their lives over the decades in which Polish soldiers have been taking part in foreign missions. He underlined that the Polish army was active in NATO and EU missions, and that this year "Poland has returned to a UN mission."
"In this way we have been taking care of our security; we offer solidarity towards our allies and we expect solidarity in a situation, in which we should seek such support. This is a mechanism securing safety for us and securing safety for our homeland," Błaszczak underlined.
The minister said that the meeting was held at Remembrance Square to honour and remember those who gave their life for the homeland.
The Day of Remembrance of the Fallen and Deceased on Foreign Missions and Military Operations is observed in Poland on December 21. On that day in 2011, five Polish soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan.