Norway celebrates National Veterans Day and the 75th Anniversary of the nation’s liberation from German Occupation on Friday, 8 May 2020 at the Akershus Fortress.

King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit joined Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Minister of Defense Frank Bakke-Jensen, Chairman of the Storting’s Foreign and Defense Committee, Anniken Huitfeldt, and Defense Minister Haakfelden for wreath-laying ceremonies at the National Monument at 12 noon.

However, due to the corona pandemic, Akershus Fortress will be closed to the public from 1.00 pm whilst the commemorations take place.

King Harald’s Speech – English Translation

King Harald V gave a speech at Akershus Fortress to mark National Veterans Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation.

President of the Storting
Chief Justice
Prime minister
Defence Chief

Dear Veterans,
Dear everyone!

In the winter of 1941, Carl Johan Oftedahl from Stavanger sat in German captivity here at Akershus fortress. Along with several other Norwegians, he was sentenced to death by the Nazis for his resistance. The last night he lived there was one message that was important for him to convey to those who remained:

‘Greet our countrymen and say that they must build Norway in love.’

This is a good message even today.

75 years have passed since one of the happiest days in our country’s history: Finally, we could celebrate the liberation after five dark years of war.

Today we were to celebrate this big together, across the country.
Instead, paradoxically, our freedom has been restricted.
We cannot mark the day exactly the way we had wished.

Yet, we have a great deal to celebrate and be grateful for today.
We celebrate peace and freedom.

We celebrate that we live in a country where the people themselves choose their representatives – and where power is balanced and distributed to our common good.

We also celebrate a fundamental strength – which we are really experiencing the value of today: Trust. Our trust in each other. And our confidence in all those who make important decisions on behalf of the community.

Much of this was missing from us during the war years. And all this is still a distant dream for a large part of the world’s population to this day.

Therefore, we have good reason to recall the jubilant noise of May 1945 and relive the joy and cohesion that characterized our country just these days.

I want to take this special opportunity to say a warm thank you on behalf of all of you to you who in different ways helped us celebrate the liberation with our allies 75 years ago.

You, along with the many who are no longer among us, will forever live in the grateful memory of our country.

World War II cost a lot – both human and material.

Cities and communities were levelled with the earth. Many lost their lives. Relations were broken and confidence broken. The wounds have followed families for generations.

But the country was rebuilt.

Tirelessly, our people rebuilt the entire community into something better than it was before. We had lost a lot. And we had recognized the value of what we had loved. We should not lose again. Slowly, we laid the foundation for the free, open, diverse welfare community that each of us is so fortunate to be a part of today.

And we see that the community we have built together carries. It gives us good reason to be both proud, happy and grateful.

But it was not only our own country that we rebuilt after 1945. We experienced painfully how dependent we are on each other across national borders. We built alliances to make us all less vulnerable. With one main goal in mind: No more World War.

This international cooperation has, in the big picture, made the world a safer place. We shall protect that well.

Dear everyone,
Today, we celebrate our peace, freedom and government.
We celebrate the unity and trust between us.

Now we will move forward together – with action and new awareness of what matters to us. About everything we live by – and for.

In a time of less freedom for all of us, a time that is difficult for many, we should also remember to build each other up.

Once again, we have been reminded of how dependent we are on our small and large communities. We are going to bring out the best in each other – so that each one can contribute in their own way to strengthen our country for the future.

We will follow the opposition of Carl Johan Oftedahl’s request:
We will continue to build Norway in love.

King Harald V, 8 May 2020

King Harald’s 75th Anniversary Since Liberation Speech in Norwegian –

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