Tale/innlegg | Dato: 26.04.2013
Middagstale i Palace Green 10, residensen, ved statsråd Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen, 25. april.
*Sjekkes mot fremføring*
Members of parliament,
Ladies and gentlemen,
To be here in 10 Palace Green with you Joachim Rønneberg is certainly a setting which brings history to our door step. The near past is lingering in these very walls.
It is almost as we, at this very table, can sense the atmosphere of a hard pressed King Haakon in meeting with the Norwegian Government in exile.
We may feel the mix of hope, fear and uncertainties as the war unfolded.
And we may sense a gist of the joy and victory when finally turning the tide in May 1945.
For me these wonderful locations also bear witness of the remarkable relations between the United Kingdom and Norway that we so highly cherish, in peace and in times of war.
You, Joachim Rønneberg, also came to value and treasure the people of Great Britain. When preparing for the heroic operation at Vemork, places like Stodham Park, Meoble Lodge, Beaulieu and Aviemore became your training areas.
I know that you in particular preferred the last one. In the Scottish Highlands and in the mountains of Caringorn, you found scenery reminding you of the Alps of Sunnmøre.
It was in these places you and a handpicked group of Norwegians was given the best training and preparations by the SOE. It was in this atmosphere you came to admire the British people for their struggle, their suffering and tremendous support.
The war defined our relationship and eventually brought us together as founding members of the North Atlantic Alliance.
Ladies and gentlemen, in preparing for Operation Gunnerside, the stakes could not have been higher. If you and your men had failed in your mission, Hitler would have had a crucial advantage. The world might have been a very different place.
Today we will also pay tribute to those young men who so tragically perished. A total of 34 Royal Engineers of the 1st British Airborne Division and seven British aircrew lost their lives and made the ultimate sacrifice in the operation preceding Operation Gunnerside.
Around this table are seated soldiers and fellow officers that take lessons and inspiration from this decisive operation. Even more, your deeds and your professionalism give meaning and perspective to the task of all our soldiers who are deployed today in dangerous missions abroad in the name of peace.
Operation Gunnerside is an impeccable example of special operations to be replicated in education, training and other places of conflict.
We know that there has always been close ties between soldiers actively serving in the Norwegian Special Forces and the heroes of the World War II. Today’s Norwegian Special Forces are descendants of the Linge Company and the Norwegian Independent Company.
Gunnar Sønsteby, Max Manus and you, Joachim Rønneberg, have acted as an inspiration for generations of Special Forces. Your deeds and legacy are intimately linked to the Special Forces of today.
Two weeks ago I met with the Special Forces unit we have deployed in Kabul. Again I was reminded of the clear links with their forerunners serving in the Linge-company. Today our special forces are the trainers, while the Afghans possess the local knowledge necessary to carry out their stated objective. The roles are different, but it is nevertheless a successful model applied again and again.
To me this dinner is a moment uniting past and present. It is the long and unbroken lines of courage, resolution and sacrifice so typical of our veterans. It is the common belief in freedom and democracy, values you have been willing to defend and protect.
On behalf the Norwegian Government I would like to thank Joachim Rønneberg and his unique group of resistance fighters.
Thank you for your courage and bravery.
Thank you for your efforts at a time when they were needed the most.
Thank you for believing so strongly in freedom and democracy that you risked your own life.
Thank you for sharing your experience with generations of youth taking these values for granted.
It is with great respect and appreciation I propose a toast to the guest of honour - resistance fighter Joachim Rønneberg.