AT AIR FORCE DISPLAY
Religion has long taught to have no grudges against others. We have no grudges against past enemies. And yet, we cannot forget the injustices perpetrated against the Ethiopian people. In the celebration of the last couple of days – marking the 25th anniversary of Ethiopia’s liberation – we have observed with satisfaction the display by our Armed Forces. And We praise the Lord Almighty for the presence amongst us of the patriots and exiles who survived the enemy’s ruthless man-hunt and victimization.
As it has been correctly stated earlier, Ethiopia fell an easy victim to external aggression because she lacked air power. Today We have witness that Ethiopia has an air power to reckon with. What took place today and what the Air Force is heading to accomplish, indeed furnishes a confidence in the future of the Ethiopian people.
Nevertheless the establishment of an air force is not sufficient in itself. We have assigned men to various positions of responsibility in the Ethiopian Air Force and it is up to these men to apply themselves diligently to the task of self-improvement. The rank and file and the Officers of the Ethiopian Air Force must work with the dedication their fathers and forefathers had shown in the past – the past in which all Ethiopians can take pride.
Through diligence, wisdom and labour, our forefathers have preserved the sovereignty of Our nation and the integrity of our country. The present as well as the future generation bears responsibility to follow the examples set in the past and to dedicate themselves for stability, progress and betterment of the Ethiopia of tomorrow. No arms, however big or however mighty, can provide solace to a nation. A nation finds comfort and the freedom of that nation is best protected through the sacrifice and patriotism of its people. We must put to the best use the rich heritage of our past for in that way, and in that way alone can We live to the highest standard set by our forefathers for the Ethiopian people.
Today, as We come to the close of the three-day celebrations, We thank God for all He has done for the Ethiopian people. We have witnessed the emergence of Ethiopia’s air power, the growth of her Navy, the strength of her land forces and above all, the will of her people to overcome all difficulties. We praise God for the progress We have already made and for the progress that is bound to be Ours tomorrow. The all-round development of Ethiopia and particularly the development of her Armed Forces and her economic resources unmistakably show the greatness of the Ethiopian people in going beyond and above individual gains and labour to the common good of all. We are the more happy to witness the progress and development that is taking place for through it the rights of all the people of Ethiopia are better protected and their future happiness is better assured. Join Us today in praying to God to give Us further strength to proceed along this useful course.
Some jested that Ethiopia fell victim to Fascist aggression in the short period of seven to eight months. But history has mocked the jesters by showing that those who laughed in mockery lost their battle for freedom in a matter of days only. The vital resources of a nation are, as we have already said, the people’s selfless dedication and vigilance to overcome difficulties – it is not the heavy armoury but the quality of the citizens that man it that matters. The Ethiopian people are now more assured than ever before of a brighter future. What gives form and substance to this assurance is the ever-existing vigilance of our people, the strength of Our Armed Forces, the progress achieved in the various fields of national endeavour and above all the unity of our people. This is not only a source of satisfaction but a source of honour too. This furnishes the living with hope for a better future. And the dead shall rest in peace for their sacrifice in defence of their country has been honoured.
Those that have fallen in the battle-field have sacrificed themselves so that Our future would be more secure. And we the living have the responsibility of living up to the sacrifice that they have made, and to this all Ethiopians must dedicate themselves. In all your undertakings through your career, base yourselves on greater knowledge, courage and determination. For, if you base yourselves upon these values, you shall not fail but you shall forever go from one victory to another. I thank all the hard-working members of the Air Force. May God bless you.
May 8, 1966
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie – page 610 –