Centenarians on the Centennial: Five Romanians born in 1918, celebrated by ministers Carmen Dan and George Ivascu

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Minister of Internal Affairs Carmen Dan offered on Thursday, symbolically, the Tricolor of Romania to five Romanians aged 100 years, invited at the seat of the institution.

“You, dear centenarians, are the representatives of those who have lived, hoped and modernized Romania over the past century. You are the Romanians-symbol who believed in the destiny of this country. The Great Union (…) is the result of a difficult process, of efforts and sacrifices from each generation,” the minister said.

The dignitary showed that the presence of the five Romanian centenarians at the event represents “a lesson of life, a proof of power and a model of will.”

The five Romanians born in 1918, celebrated on Thursday by Interior Minister Carmen Dan and Culture Minister George Ivascu, criticised the Romanian political class, being dissatisfied with today’s times, mentioned the good life they enjoyed during the time of the Monarchy, and expressed their hope that Bessarabia will reunite with Romania.

Simion Garlea, Elena Bica, Constanta Petre, Steliana Bardas and Vasile Ghiata were the honorary guests of an event hosted by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, where an exhibition marking 100 years since Bessarabia’s union with Romania was also opened. Each of them received a Romanian flag along with their medals.

“We lived well, can’t say we didn’t. Life was hard only during the war. Now we’re living a little better. Let’s say it’s better now, but not really. Don’t you see how things are today? [Politicians] fight, all kinds of impermissible words are said…,” Constanta Petre said, news.ro informs.

She likened the communist period to “drought,” said the Revolution was “like a liberation, but not for the better,” and added that “it was better under King Mihai.”

Simion Garlea talked about the Second World War, in which he fought, and about Bessarabia, a province he cried after in 1940. “If you were Bessarabia, how would you feel?” he rhetorically asked. “That’s how I felt. When I heard on the radio that it was ceded, I cried, even though I was a bit older.”

He badly wants Bessarabia to once again be part of Romania. “For me, the Republic of Moldova is not a good word, Bessarabia is correct. Mrs Carmen, you are both in the Government and the Parliament… the Premier, Mrs Dancila, is she doing something for Bessarabia to unite with Romania? She let me down. I was expecting more. You should know there is a purely Romanian population in Bessarabia. True Romanians,” he said.

“Romania became great under the reign of King Ferdinand. The living was good, you should know. Bessarabia is a rich land, it has everything,” Simion Garlea added.

Referring to the political class of today and love for the country, he said: “If Romanian and Bessarabian politicians today were one quarter the way politicians were back then, it would be good. I have great confidence that from now on they will understand what they have to do. It’s a pity to leave the Bessarabian population in the hands of the Russians. I have special respect for the Russian people. If, during the four months in which I walked from the battlefront back to the country, I hadn’t met the mercy of the Russian people, I wouldn’t have made it back. But the leaders were the cause…”

In conclusion, the Interior Minister smiled and said she agrees with Simion Garlea’s statements. “I believe that we must always do more than we are doing. I believe it’s important to have good faith and to do what is to the benefit of the citizens,” Carmen Dan said.

Thursday’s ceremony was the start of a project that, Carmen Dan said, will take place at national level, seeking to bring to the forefront the Romanians born on the year of the Great Union. In Romania there are 250 persons who turn 100 this year.

“In the coming days, we aim to reach out to every one of them, to know them, to hear their stories, to learn from their experience and to carry on the memories of our country as it has been seen through their eyes,” Dan added.