It was about 10 a.m. on a Friday morning that fell within the Moslem fasting month when, on August 17, 1945, a young and charismatic political activist Soekarno, accompanied by Mhd. Hatta, stepped up to a microphone to make the following powerful and very succinct pronouncement: "We the people of Indonesia hereby declare Indonesia's Independence, Matters concerning the transfer of power and other questions will be executed in an orderly manner in the shortest possible time.
Jakarta, August 17, 1945
In the name of the Indonesian People
SOEKARNO – HATTA
Now, some 69 years later, those words still echo as Indonesia celebrates that momentous day and looks back at the intervening years of nation building. That along the way there have been many painful setbacks intermixed among moments of great victory - no one can deny.
Similarly, the early days of the French Republic recorded many cruel excesses while the opening chapters of the great American experiment were tarnished by great wealth built on a slave society and a ruthless near-annihilation of an indigenous people. Likewise, the people of Indonesia have not been exempt from undergoing the trials, errors and tribulations experienced by any people striving to discover their national identity.
STILL A GREAT NOTION
Like all great nations, Indonesia has from its earliest days set for itself high ideals based on principles of humanity, social justice, national unity and nationalism. Yet, uniting a people spread across a geographic area equal in breadth to any in the world, living on thousands of islands, and comprised of over 300 ethnic groups has proven a formidable and often frustrating task. And, yes, there have been periods when that march forward towards its national destiny when Indonesia has faltered. There have been painful retreats before finally managing a consolidation for the next, bold step into the future.
As a nation, Indonesia has suffered and paid dearly for its mistakes and missteps. God willing, we are wiser and more sage for the experience.
Principles of unity, social justice, and nationalism proclaimed by the Nation's founders remain with us today. These ideals – when wisely applied by the nation's leaders – have managed to override any narrower interests of race, ethnicity, local culture and religious beliefs, steadfastly nurturing our diversity while strengthening our unity.
Indonesia's national motto: BHINNEKA TUNGGAL IKA
proclaims the national ideal of "unity in diversity."
Clearly, managing that diversity while fostering unity represents at once Indonesia's greatest challenge and it's true destiny among great the community of nations.
takes this opportunity to extend its sincere wishes for a future bright with promise to the people of Republic of Indonesia.
"Dirgahayu Republik Indonesia H.U.T. ke-69!"
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