108th National Day
The National Day after being celebrated in Trashigang in 2014 was celebrated in Paro in 2015 on the grounds of the Ugyen Pelri Palace.
His Majesty the King opened the celebrations with an address to the nation.
His Majesty said, “This year, we celebrate the 108th National Day of Bhutan- a number that we consider most auspicious. With the gracious presence of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo amongst us, the members of the Royal Family, the government, organizations, and the people gathered here at the Ugyen Pelri Palace today, are witness to a blessed event.”
His Majesty noted that people began to enter the Ugyen Pelri Palace ground as early as 3 in the morning to participate in the celebrations, which His Majesty said is a testimony to the great love and national pride that the people have for the country.
His Majesty said the National Day is important as on this day in 1907, Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck became the first hereditary King of Bhutan, and from that day onwards, the successive Kings, the government, and people, have worked together in harmony to build the nation.
Their collective efforts over the years have resulted in the peace and prosperity today, His Majesty said.
“On the celebration of this significant occasion, I extend my Tashi Delek to all the people across the 20 dzongkhags of Bhutan”.
“In 2015, some countries suffered economic crises, while others had to deal with internal conflicts, terrorism, war and natural disasters. However, in Bhutan, with the blessings of the Kenchosum, the merit of the people, the prayers of our ancestors, and the protection of our guardian deities, this year was filled with peace and happiness. I am deeply satisfied by our hard work and achievements,” His Majesty said.
Commenting on the 60th anniversary celebrations His Majesty said, “It has been an auspicious year for us, as we successfully celebrated His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s 60th Birth Anniversary, and received the opportunity to express our gratitude and offer tribute to His Majesty.”
His Majesty pointed out that next year is not only the birth year of Guru Rinpoche, who came to Bhutan in the 8th century, but also marks 400 years since Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel began the wheel of the dual system of governance in Bhutan.
“Since then, 54 Desis governed the country, beginning with Desi Umze Tenzin Drugyel, and ensured that Bhutan remained united. We have had an unbroken line of Je Khenpos beginning with Je Pekar Jugne, to Je Trulku Jigme Chhoeda today. Their efforts have helped the dharma to flourish boundlessly,” His Majesty said.
“Since 1907, with the installation of the hereditary Monarchy, our successive Kings, along with the people, have worked tirelessly to achieve our national goals and strengthen our country. The collective efforts of those years culminated in the establishment of the democratic system of governance in 2008.”
“With democracy, we aspire to build a just and harmonious society, strengthen our beloved country, and fulfill all the aspirations of our people,” said His Majesty.
His Majesty the King then awarded various awards to people for their service to the nation.
A lifetime service award was granted to 45 retired civil servants who have served in the civil service between 1985 to 2011, in recognition of their distinguished and meritorious service to the nation.
His Majesty said, “I congratulate the 45 retired civil servants who have received the lifetime civil service award this year. The medals to recognize civil servants were initiated in 2013. Civil servants have received recognition for having completed 10, 20, and 30 years of service. This award recognizes the importance of our civil servants, and also their services in all the 20 dzongkhags and 205 gewogs of Bhutan.”
“This award is an expression of appreciation to our civil servants, and more importantly, a reminder to the civil servants that they must continue to shoulder their responsibilities impeccably.”
“I am deeply satisfied with this award because it recognizes individuals irrespective of their position in the civil service. There are many other civil servants who have received the medals for 10, 20, or 30 years of service, and I am pleased to extend my Tashi Delek to them as well,” said His Majesty.
National Order of Merit, Gold was awarded to 6 educators from the Ministry of Education, Royal University of Bhutan, and Royal Institute of Management, in recognition of their exemplary service to the nation in the field of education for excellence in leadership and management.
National Order of Merit, Silver was awarded to 22 teachers in recognition of their exemplary service to the nation in the field of education for excellence in teaching.
National Order of Merit, Bronze was awarded to 22 teachers in recognition of their exemplary service to the nation in the field of education for their dedicated long tenure and service in remote and difficult areas.
His Majesty said, “Educators have been repeatedly recognized during every National Day celebrations– this reflects the immense importance we attach to the future of our country. We cannot afford to be complacent because Bhutan enjoys peace and happiness today, but instead work with a concerted effort to consolidate the future of our country. This future will be determined by the capabilities of our youth. Our national priority is to nurture our youth, and ensure that they receive an education that will enable them to build an even better future for Bhutan.”
“For this reason, teachers will continue to receive the encouragement to keep working hard, to adequately prepare the future generations to shoulder their future responsibilities,” said His Majesty.
Four Master Craftsmen have been awarded the National Order of Merit, Gold, in recognition of their services to the nation, for preserving and promoting traditional crafts, and their contributions towards nation building and in defining the national identity.
His Majesty said, “As a Buddhist country, we have many sacred sites in Bhutan, which are part of our valuable cultural heritage. In the past 10 years, 7 dzongs have been renovated, while 3 new ones have been built. The reconstruction works on 96 lhakhangs that had been damaged due to earthquakes have been completed. 103 new lhakhangs have been built in the past 10 years alone. Many chortens that were built for the wellbeing of the country and its people over the generations, have fallen into disrepair. Of the 2836 chortens, restoration works on 1607 have been completed, and 1229 are ongoing.”
“In these works, the Zorig crafts are invaluable– they represent our history, and are part of our cultural heritage, which must be handed over intact to the future generations,” said His Majesty.
His Majesty also awarded Red Scarf to RCSC Chairman Dasho Karma Tshiteem, Druk four Thuksey awards (see page 4) and also National Order of Merit Awards (see page 3).
His Majesty said, “Our government, led by the Prime Minister, along with the Speaker, the Chairperson of the National Council, and the Leader of the Opposition, have been carrying out their duties with excellence, and for this, I express my appreciation.”
“His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo celebrated the National Day here in Paro in 1982, and I celebrated National Day with the people here in 2005. I am pleased to be here today with His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo to celebrate this most auspicious celebration of the 108th National Day.”
“My enduring prayers remain that our country of Pelden Drukpa, blessed by Guru Rinpoche and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, grow stronger than ever in the coming years, that our people achieve greater prosperity, and that the sun of peace and happiness forever shine upon Bhutan,” His Majesty concluded.