Bangladesh stands at forty three today and while it is a time for celebration, there is also need for introspection as we observe our Victory Day. Freedom came across the land, across villages and towns after much bloodletting, pillage and plunder and at a massive human cost in lost and shattered lives. A marauding Pakistani occupation army let loose its war machine among an unarmed populace over the course of nine months costing us three million dead, two hundred thousand Bangalee women violated and a campaign that killed off some of the brightest of our intelligentsia on the eve of victory.
Though our hearts are heavy at the price paid for freedom, it is also a day to look back upon the stories of freedom fighters, both Bangalee and foreign who took it upon themselves to fight for and in many instances, die for the ideals that drove us to seek independence. We recall the visionary leadership of the time as we acknowledge the assistance of India in caring for ten million refugees seeking shelter away from the massacre. But most of all, we will never forget the resoluteness of 70million Banaglees who never wavered from the belief that the cause of freedom was a just one which they strove to achieve in a do-or-die struggle. This morning we recall the sacrifices that went into the making of our finest hour and the eternal source of inspiration that we will return to year after year. It devolves upon the present generation and those to come to live up to the aspirations generated by our victory in 1971.