DefMin Fifor, on Veterans' Day: 11 November 2003, a fateful day when we lost first soldier in Afghanistan theater of war

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11 November also means the fateful day of 2003, when the Romanian Army lost its first serviceman in the theater of operations of Afghanistan, and another 28 heroes have since followed him "in sacrifice," reminding everyone of how precious freedom is, National Defence Minister Mihai Fifor stated on Saturday, in a message conveyed on the Veterans' Day.

"Today is an important day for the entire Romanian Army, a day of joy, but also of sorrow. We remember with admiration the missions you have accomplished with professionalism, courage and dedication over the last decades in theaters of war, which we thank each one of you for. The sorrow of the 29 families who lost their sons, husbands, fathers and brothers in these combat missions will never pass away. They will forever remain in our hearts, heroes who turned into legends too much early, whom we owe gratitude and pious respect," Fifor stated.

According to him, 11 November is a day for commemorating heroes across the entire Europe, "being a day which marks the entry into force, in 1918, of 'the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month,' of the truce between the Entente and the Central Powers, which ended the First World War, a devastating conflict that ripped Europe of the beginning of the 20th century, in the battles of which the Romanian Army troops fell."

He brought to mind that on 11 November 2003, Romania's Army lost the first serviceman in the theater of war of Afghanistan.

"For us, however, 11 November means the fateful day of 2003, when Romania's Army lost its first soldier in the theater of operations of Afghanistan, posthumous Second Lieutenant Iosif Silviu Fogorasi. Another 28 heroes followed him in sacrifice, reminding everyone of how precious freedom is. Their names are written on the frontispiece of the monument that is dedicated to them and in our hearts. The pain of their families will never end. Just as we, the ones carrying further their legacy, will never cease to honor their memory and pray for the resting of their souls," the Minister also stated.

"As Minister of Defence, as a man who appreciates the fundamental values of the Romanian soldier — honor, dignity, discipline and solidarity — I present you the salute of the entire Romanian Army. Alongside our brave veterans of the World War II, you write the history of this country and you are an example for us all. We thank you for what you have done and still do, we cherish your sacrifices and I assure you that we strive, through thoughts and actions, to be at the level of your legitimate expectations, both on the course of the country and in regards to the care and respect that is rightfully yours from society," he conveyed.

The minister revealed that many of the servicemen injured in theaters of war had the possibility to meet him personally, during activities organised by the ministry, and especially, on the occasion of Invictus games.

He gave assurances in respect to further enforce the best solutions to support veterans.

The allocation of two percent of the GDP to Defence as of this year and the acquisitions that have already started will contribute to the strengthening of our country's role as a regional pillar of stability and security inside NATO and the EU, in this complex period in terms of security around the world, in general, and, especially, in the Black Sea region, the minister mentioned.

"The new technique will made Romania's Army, which has extraordinary people, a top institution, worthy of the great trust that the population has in it and the special appreciations of the foreign partners. (...) Thank you, dear and brave veterans, for all that you have done in the service of the Fatherland and the Romanian people and I wish you, on your birthday, on my behalf and on behalf of the National Defence Ministry, the warmest and most sincere congratulations, plenty of health and personal fulfillment. Many happy returns!," Mihai Fifor concluded. AGERPRES (RO — editor: Georgiana Tanasescu; EN — editor: Rodica State)

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