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National Memorial Ceremony: The King's Speech

His Majesty The King’s Speech at the National Memorial Ceremony for 22 July 2011. Oslo Spektrum, 21 August 2011. English translation.

Dear all of you,

There is so little that has not already been said.

The last four weeks have been hard for us all.

But that is also why it is good to be together. My thoughts have been with those of you who were directly affected by the terrorist actions, and those who have lost someone you loved.
As a father, grandfather and husband, I have some feeling of what you are going through, but I can only imagine the depth of your pain.
As the King of this nation, I feel for each and every one of you.

It can take a long time to regain equilibrium after a traumatic experience of this magnitude. It is important to remember that grief takes many forms and there must be room for all of them. Feelings of guilt and anxiety, rage and emptiness.

We will continue to mourn together. But in the midst of our sorrow, I also have a great need to say thank you.

Thank you to all of you who were there in the government buildings and on Utøya, and who have decided that you will not allow these events to break your spirit.

Thank you to all of the helpers – from the police, fire and rescue services, health care institutions, churches and other religious communities, armed forces, civil defence, volunteer organisations – and all of you who just did whatever you could because you needed to. All of you have shown us what loving-kindness and courage mean in practice, when it really counts. Many have helped to save the lives of others – some at risk to their own. And many are still working hard to help the bereaved and offer support to those who need it.

Thank you as well to the Prime Minister, the Government and the government ministries. The Prime Minister has led us steadfastly, and with admirable fortitude, as our national anchor in a time of crisis. At the same time, he and his administration have managed to keep the wheels turning under conditions of extreme duress. Local authorities have responded with compassion and the political parties have demonstrated solidarity – with each other, with the people, and with those directly affected. It is evident to me that everyone has done absolutely everything they could to help.

These past weeks we have seen the funerals of 77 people. We have all had a chance to learn a little bit about each of those who died – through stories in the media and the eulogies given in their memory. We have lost 77 individuals who wanted to use their lives in the best way possible for the society of which they were a part. We will honour their memory by continuing to work to achieve the values that they held so dear.

I would like to repeat today what I said the day after these tragic events took place:
I firmly believe that freedom is stronger than fear.
I firmly believe in an open Norwegian democracy and society.
And I firmly believe that we will uphold our ability to live freely and securely in our own country.

This tragedy has reminded us of the fundamental ties that bind us together in our multicultural, multi-faceted society. Let us keep this understanding foremost in our thoughts – and let us take care of each other. Let us as individuals be clear about what we stand for and take every opportunity we can to influence our society in a positive direction.

Much will still be demanded of us in the weeks and months to come. Those of you who have suffered a loss may find that things grow harder as the outpouring of national grief gradually subsides. As the strong sense of community that we have felt during this time recedes more into the background. That is when we, as fellow human beings, must make an effort to seek out those who are grieving or struggling with their lives. We must stay beside them as the spotlight of world attention fades.

When day-to-day life once again resumes.

As a nation we must take this experience with us in our hearts and in our minds, and we must not lose sight of our renewed awareness of what is really important to us.

 

21.08.2011

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H.M. Kongens tale ved den nasjonale minnemarkeringen for 22. juli 2011. Oslo Spektrum, 21. august 2011 (Foto: NRK (Stillbilde: Scanpix))
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