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Lukashenko presents state awards in run-up to Day of People's Unity

MINSK (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has presented state awards to distinguished Belarusians from various walks of life. The solemn ceremony took place at the Palace of Independence on 14 September, in the run-up to the country's first celebration of the Day of People's Unity, BelTA has learned.

The head of state drew attention to the symbolism of the new holiday. “The events of 17 September 1939 became an important milestone in the history of the Belarusian nation. We have many holidays, we honor them. These are Victory Day, our religious holidays like Easter, Christmas and so on. But had it not been for 17 September [1939], our country would not have existed. At that time, there was only a fragment of our country on the map, from the center of present-day Belarus to Mozyr. Our country was merely a small piece of land. Everything changed in September 1939 when our country got the boundaries that we sacredly guard to this day,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. He noted that in the run-up to this fateful date, the day of the reunification of Western and Eastern Belarus, a new tradition is being established – to honor distinguished Belarusians.

The president noted that true patriots, talented, hardworking, courageous and reliable people devoted to their cause and the state gathered in the Palace of Independence. They are united by one goal – to preserve the country for future generations.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, all those present are patriots who love their homeland. “We have not betrayed, we have not faltered. It is worth a lot for each of you. If someone has not understood it this year, or last year, after yesterday's events, they will get it in the near future. Don't succumb to any attacks. Especially in these juvenile messengers, Telegram channels and so on. It will subside like foam. The things that will remain are the things you should always be proud of and the things your children should cherish,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.

The head of state separately mentioned Vladimir Slobodchikov who was awarded the title of People's Artist of Belarus. This great artist has raised an array of famous artists and laureates of prestigious sculpture awards. “An amazing person whose works celebrate love for his homeland, convey pride for the achievements of the past and present, perpetuate the memory of the tragic and heroic pages of our history, feats and heroism of our compatriots. He is a realist. This is what patriotism is about. This is an example of the very struggle for the preservation of our national values, which all of us, Belarusians, cherish so much today,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“You know, there are many talented and great people. But I appreciate greatness in those who nurture talent. If you grow professionally and achieve public acclaim, you should raise a dozen more people like you; this way you will be glorified for centuries,” the president noted.

The head of state congratulated the entire Belarusian nation on the upcoming great holiday – the Day of People's Unity and wished them good health, inspiration and new achievements for the good of Belarus. “As our wise ancestors said, the land is strong because of people. And Belarus has repeatedly proved this proverb right. We perpetuate our history in public holidays so it will live on through many generations. These holidays remind us of the importance of peace, independence of the country and the cohesion of our nation,” the head of state said.