In a press statement released on June 27, Romania's National Flag Day, Defence Minister Gabriel Les says the significance of the celebration is special this year as it marks 15 years since the Romanian flag was first hoisted at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, while Interior Minister Carmen Dan invites young people to "lean more on the deep meaning" of the word "patriotism."On the 171st anniversary of the Romanian tricolor flag, Les voiced "full respect for the symbol colors of the Romanian people and his full gratitude to all those who, with heroism, courage and love of their homeland, sacrificed their lives by fighting under the Romanian army battle flags."
"This year, the significance of this celebration is all the more important because it is 15 years since the flag of Romania was first hoisted at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels on April 2, 2004. By becoming a full NATO member back then, thanks to the essential contribution of its troops, Romania earned a chance to irrevocably validate its democratic and pro-Western vocation. Its NATO and the European Union membership, along with a strategic partnership with the United States of America, represent the solid pillars of the foundation of national security and landmarks in Romania asserting itself on the stages of diplomatic relations as a strong voice in Europe and elsewhere in the world," Les said in his statement.
In a message posted on Facebook, Dan says "today is a day dedicated to one of Romania's most beloved symbols, the National Flag, a testimony of our country's historic journey along a tumultuous past toward today's national, sovereign and independent state, united and indivisible."
"And because today is an opportunity to remember the sacrifices and the tumultuous history of this nation, I invite young generations and educators to lean more on the profound meanings of a word: patriotism! Because patriotism must not be worn on lapels on national holidays only or festive occasions, but it is a permanent state, a way of life, a certain way of understanding and doing things," says Dan.
The National Flag Day was celebrated on Wednesday nationwide by flag-raising public ceremonies at military bases.