"Tomorrow's world is also made of the dreams it has today"
As is the case every year, Luxembourg's Grand Duke Henri gave his Christmas speech on Christmas Eve greeting citizens of the Grand Duchy. In his message he mentions for 2014, “a year of great commemorative significance” and encourages each of us to commit to others.
Video: Grand Duke Henri's speech in Luxembourgish
Here is the speech in its entirety:
"The past year was marked by great commemorative significance. It has been exactly 100 years since the history of our continent has shown its most tragic face at its worse with the beginning of the war of 1914. Other key moments of the century, with commemorations this year such as 1939 and the beginning of the Second World War, or June 6 '44 and the Normandy landings, had their direct consequences.
But history also offers the happiest moments, like in 1989, exactly a quarter century ago since the fall of the Berlin Wall, with the eastern part of Europe freed miraculously from a draconian system without clashes or violence.
Faced with events of such magnitude, we share the same sense of helplessness, with the impression that things are imposed on us by fate or an external force.
Yet it is man who write history.
We are able to learn from the worst tragedies: after the war visionaries forgave and made steps towards the revolutionary idea that is Europe.
There are those also able to move mountains, like the anonymous citizens, I had the pleasure of meeting in Rostock in September at the invitation of President Gauck. By their courage, commitment and perseverance they overthrew in autumn 1989 the oppressive regime of East Germany. It seemed impossible and yet the chains that bound them were broken when no one expected it.
The 175 years of our own turbulent history, which was also celebrated this year, of a small territory which took hold of its destiny with circumstances that became more favourable, gradually establishing its place in the concert of nations.
My dear compatriots,
We are all custodians of a common heritage that we must pass on to generations to come. Receive and transmit. It is, for example, our responsibility to give new impetus to building Europe which sometimes creates scepticism. Difficult periods can not let us forget tremendous progress made by Europeans as a whole, namely peace, international understanding and economic prosperity. This legacy we must preserve, fortify and enrich.
Each of us, in the limits of our resources, is also set to be an actor, being a full actor of our own lives, but also by committing to others. You all know the famous words of President Kennedy when he called on his fellow citizens to, "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country". This quote reflects a profound truth, that everyone has a role to play in society beyond their own fate.
Our life together requires a delicate balance between individual rights and attention to community.
So-called commitment takes on the most diverse forms. This is first of all a state of mind: Be aware that a successful life is not just about only personal satisfaction and that in a general interest it sometimes means accepting sacrifices. Approaching others is not only a duty, but a source of profound joy. And in the end, the pleasure of giving is infinitely greater than receiving.
Commitment is of course a matter of act. Becoming part of a political party, trade union or non government organisation, to build a better world, or a more consistent one, with its values is an action that deserve the utmost respect. Encourage the young to take this direction. Tomorrow's world is also made of the dreams it has today. For them to deliver, for us to support.
Involvement in social and community life, another form of engagement, is equally important. The pulse of our country is also the rhythm of the almost innumerable associations, where so many volunteers come together, bicker sometimes, but work together for the good of their group.
Help friends and relatives in need, care for family members in their daily lives, it is to me another form of engagement. Family solidarity, like that between true friends is one of the pillars of our social life. For those who share religious beliefs, and those that do not, Christmas is a time of sharing and reunions. The is very good, but sharing and reunions we should live throughout the year with many other moments that are not pre-planned meetings in a calendar.
On this Christmas Eve, I have given a lot of thought for those who suffer from loneliness. I know very well that being alone while others are celebrating is a painful experience. Most of us know sick and helpless people around us. These festivals that leave us some respite, offer the opportunity for us to find out about their situations and show them a sign of friendship and solidarity that will warm the heart. The most simple things are often the most noble.
My dear compatriots,
The size of our nation and our turbulent history has made us aware of our dependence on those around us. I think this understanding has the advantage of preserving us from arrogance.
I take this opportunity to again thank all those who make a contribution to the building of an open and diverse Luxembourg society. Accept the contribution of each as a gift to our cohesion. Let us be proud and grateful of our diversity. It is essential that times of crisis be lived as an opportunity to gather around what unites us.
On behalf of the Grand Duchess, my father Grand Duke Jean, Prince Guillaume and Princess Stephanie and all of our children, accept our best wishes for Christmas and our wishes for peace and happiness for the year comes. Let's use these shared moments as opportunities to celebrate living in a country where the values of solidarity and commitment are central".
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