The following is Lebanese President Michel Aoun's speech on the occasion of the graduation of "Dawn of the Outskirts" Army officers on Army Day:
"Dear graduated officers,
Today, as you raise your right hand and swear an oath, a new stage of your life opens its doors to you, where the priority is always given to the country. During this new stage, you will sweat or even bleed, you will feel tired and you will offer sacrifices. However, this is your mission and this is the destiny of the heroes.
You have chosen to name your promotion
"Dawn of the Outskirts" (Fajr El Jouroud), which symbolizes lessons to be learnt and a life course to be followed. These outskirts, on which the night of terrorism lasted for a long time, blood has been spilled, martyrs have fallen, hostages have drained the cup of bitterness to the dregs, tears of the families and the beloved ones have been shed. On these same outskirts, the dawn finally rose thanks to the bravery of the heroes, the decision of the command and to the bravery of those who sacrificed themselves to free and purify our land of terrorism, thus resulting in the salvation of a whole nation.
The qualitative military operation carried out by the army to eradicate the terrorists, an operation commended by the whole world for its professionalism and precision, proves the aptitude of our military institution, its acquisition of international trust, the conviction of its children in the fundamental role they play in the defense of the nation and that they ultimately constitute its lifeline in the midst of storms and turbulences.
I am keen, from this rostrum, on saluting the martyrs who died during the operation of "Dawn of the Outskirts", whose memory is vivid in our spirit and in the conscience of the nation, especially the soldiers whose bodies were recovered after being kidnapped by the sons of darkness, and enveloped by the soil of their beloved country, thus representing an icon of heroism and freedom.
The events, the days and the times confirm that the army remains the most stable reference in times of crises. In times of war, the army defends the borders, preserves the land, restores the dignity and sovereignty, and repairs the loopholes in the wall of national unity and coexistence. In times of peace, the army has to shoulder the responsibility of preserving the security, the gains of stability as well as the aspirations of the Lebanese citizens.
I commit myself to always standing by the side of the army and alongside with its Command in its quest to preserve it, develop its fighting capabilities, ensure its armament with the latest equipment so that it can fully accomplish its tasks, in the present and in the future, in parallel with the workshop and the tasks that will be secured by the next government, in its battle to build the nation.
This battle cannot be won if all the wills do not converge towards a single goal, for which sacrifices are offered. No victory can be achieved in a battle where the goal is lost and the fire begins from inside the trenches. Our goal, today and during the next stage, is to redress the country, develop its economy, eradicate corruption, build a powerful and capable state and end the crisis of the displaced with their safe return to their country, especially since our repeated demands in this respect have finally been heeded by the great powers. Thus, a fundamental change is clearly visible in their positions that are now in harmony with the Lebanese politics and our call for the return of the displaced back home.
In this regard, it is imperative to express Lebanon's gratitude for the initiatives aiming at taking practical measures in order to ensure the safe return of the displaced. In parallel, we must remain in a state of complete preparedness in order to achieve the desired objective.
All of these aforementioned objectives can be accomplished if intentions are sincere, if efforts are made, if every citizen is involved in the course of reform and development, if he becomes concerned by the supervision and control of those to whom he entrusted with his life and the dream of bringing Lebanon into the era of modernity and development.
Dear graduated officers,
Dear Lebanese citizens,
We have recently achieved a long-awaited breakthrough, namely the organization of parliamentary elections according to a modern law approved by the Lebanese, in an unparalleled peaceful and democratic atmosphere.
These elections resulted in the expression of the voice of the people who have chosen their representatives. The election results reflected a free will. It is now the responsibility of these citizens to monitor the performance of their representatives under the dome of parliament, to ensure that they are held responsible for their actions, honor their promises and follow their electoral programs.
The vote of the Lebanese, represented in the parliament, must also be reflected in the creation of the future government. We are all determined in this context not to favor any political party at the expense of other parties and not to serve the interest of a single party that monopolizes the decision-making process or disrupts the proper functioning of the state. Our determination is clear: this government should embrace all Lebanese components, without marginalizing any component, without canceling its role and without monopolizing the representation of a single religious community.
It is true that some demands have so far delayed the creation of the government, while Lebanon faces a critical and challenging period. Thus, I would like to reiterate my firm resolution, in cooperation with the Prime Minister-designate, to bring the country out of the crisis caused by the delayed creation of the government, relying on the cooperation amongst all stakeholders and their sense of patriotism. Indeed, any fallback at this stage of our history, marred by storms and deals of the century, is considered as a betrayal of the nation and of the hopes of the Lebanese citizens who have expressed their choices and aspirations in the polls. I am bound by my responsibilities as President of the Republic to respect and not to overlook them.
Dear graduated officers,
Remember that your military uniform is the token of comfort and strength for your people and for your family as well as a source of trust and safety for all the Lebanese. If its role is lost, the whole country is lost. Preserve the sanctity of your military uniform and do not tarnish it with temptation. May your military life be a concrete incarnation of the oath taken today namely to fulfill your duty throughout your life, to defend the land and the people.
Your role is always paramount in protecting our South from Israel's covetousness, as part of a complete and coordinated cooperation with international forces. You have contributed to the safeguarding of Lebanon's commitments, including the implementation of resolution 1701, while Israel continues to violate this resolution and still occupies part of our territories. However, all Israel's attempts will not prevent us from moving forward and from taking advantage of our oil wealth, as we will soon embark on the exploration phase, which will elevate Lebanon, in the near future, to the ranks of oil-producing countries.
Dear graduate officers,
Be an example to be followed in your ethics, your behavior, your commitment and your discipline: discipline and worthiness are the pillars for safeguarding institutions, just as the respect of laws safeguards societies.
I say to your parents: You have the right today to be proud while you see your children being bestowed upon the responsibility, the responsibility to preserve the land and to defend the nation no matter the cost.
I share with you the pride and the vigor, I also share the hopes pinned on the heroes of our army and on all our young people: they are the ones who embody the future of Lebanon and with their determination, the dawn of the nation will rise.
Source: National News Agency