Twenty-one years ago, on September 21, the cherished dream of the Armenian people came true - Armenia became an independent country. Our freedom is our greatest achievement gained through the expression of the collective will of the Armenian people.
Two decades ago, the citizens of the Armenian Republic, who cast their votes for independence, began writing the history of their Homeland, building the future of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, building the Armenia of today and tomorrow.
"Today is the moment when each Armenian should feel responsible in front of his compatriots and in front of his conscience. I think that our people will be clean before their conscience," Chairman of the Supreme Council Levon Ter-Petrossian said twenty-one years ago when responding to a journalist after the vote.
He was confident that the referendum would ensure irreversible independence for the Armenian people. He was right in his prediction: 94,99 percent of the eligible voters voted for the country's independence and on September 23 the Supreme Council proclaimed Armenia as an independent country.
September 21, 1991, was a real holiday for the Armenian people who were dancing and singing at Republican Square all day long. The whole nation, including ordinary people and voters, who had made the most important and meaningful choice in their lives, were celebrating the event.
True, they had great expectations from independence, part of which remained unrealized. The grave socio-economic conditions overshadowed the sublime idea the Armenian people had been struggling for throughout centuries.
Today, 21 years later, unfortunately we cannot see the enthusiasm of 1991. We cannot see the warm festive atmosphere that united people two decades ago. Today the holiday has turned into a formal, ceremonial event.
Is everything done today to maintain the country's independence? Did our citizens who 21 years ago left the voting booths in excitement dream of today's independence? Did independence give us what we had been longing for?
But the fact is that we have a state, army that is able to defend our homeland and certainly we have willpower to strengthen and reinforce our statehood.
Happy Independence Day, Armenia!