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The 23rd of August, Without Any Public or Gorgeous Display

24 Aug 2004 - 00:00

OBSERVER August 23rd 2004

For the first time after the fall of the communist regime, the Romanian authorities have officially labeled the events from the 23rd of August 1944. During the ceremonies yesterday, which didn’t have any gorgeous display or public, the leading-man of the 60 years ago, the King Mihai I, showed up.


At 9 o’clock in the morning, the former Sovereignty Mihai I and Queen Ana joined the other authorities which came to bring flowers to the Anonymous Soldier’s Grave in the Carol Park. The King Mihai I has been one of the first to arrive and waited for a few minutes for the present chief of the state, Ion Iliescu. The weather was rainy and the sound of the drops was amplified by the acoustic system. The representatives of the state institutions brought flowers in the memory of the approximately 17,000 Romanian heroes during the World War II. The one who started the ceremony was the president, Ion Iliescu, followed by the King Mihai I. Due to the rain and to the September like weather, there have been a few meddlers to watch the ceremony, followed by the Guard of Honor parade. Though they came separately, President Ion Iliescu, PM Adrian Nastase and the former sovereignty Mihai I preferred going together to the next destination of the manifestations. The three got into a microbus of the GPS (Guard and Protect Service) and on the backseats sat the SDP (the Social Democratic Party) personalities. The only to walk has been the Minister for External affairs, Mircea Geoana, this being the "punishment" for being late at the opening of the ceremony in the morning.

THE VETERANS’ PARADE. Before the magistrates got to the manifestations in the front of the National University for the Defense, the cleaning ladies tried a lot keeping out of the way of the rain drops the chairs that were there for the ones that were to watch the ceremony. Under the protection of some GPS snipers climbed on the military institution headquarters, the authorities laid down the usual flowers and a religious ceremony was held. The autumn rain caused the politicians to hide behind huge umbrellas, during the parades of some riot police, firemen, infantry, aviation and marine regiments. The most appreciated moment has been the county police parade, applauded by the authorities and by some Bucharest inhabitants that stood the rain to see the soldiers. The veterans’ and the war disabled people’s parade has been very emotional, since they wanted to do this in front of the Sovereignty to whom they swore faith more tan half a century ago. Dressed up in green uniforms, with berets on their heads, the thinned bodies with a little lump were striving to keep up. In front six flags have been waved, flags that had been used in the WW II as well, and that had the inscriptions of the glorious numbers of King Ferdinand and King Mihai I.

MEDALS. The war veterans have been invited yesterday at the Cotroceni Palace, where they have been awarded medals and had their lunch along with President Ion Iliescu and PM Adrian Nastase. 65 participants to the WW II were handed by President Ion Iliescu the most important medals of honor of the Romanian state. Iliescu stated that the 23rd of August 1944 has been an important moment in saving Romania and didn’t connect with the "later political events", which have been the "consequence of the deals between the great powers and of the influence sphere sectioning".

The chief of the state said that, beyond any argument, the events from the 23rd of August 1944 must be celebrated, because if this "very brave political decision" (turning up against Germany in order to free Transylvania) didn’t appear, Romania would’ve become a war theatre, and the material and human damages would’ve been a lot more expensive.


King Mihai I and Queen Ana took part in the lunch offered to the war veterans by President Ion Iliescu, at the Cotroceni Palace. At the main table were seated, alongside President Ion Iliescu, the former royal family, as well as the PM Adrian Nastase. The menu included salmon fillet in Champaign sauce with asparagus nodes and fish eggs, Julien consommé with pheasant and vegetables, chicken with vegetable spits, cheese, fruits and Ambasador cake. Besides coffee, tea and mineral water, the presidents guests have been also offered to drink black Feteasca Reserve red wine, dry Muscat Terra Dacica white wine and Jidvei cognac. The day ended in Cotroceni, with a reception having more than 1,000 guests where the former Sovereignty Mihai I said a few words for the country.

Translation: SORIN BALAN

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