| The 23rd of September
marks the anniversary of a momentous event in Saudi Arabian history. It
was on this day in 1932 that King Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdul Rahman Al-Saud
established the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,bringing unity, stability
and accord to the nation, and thereby preparing it for the socioeconomic
developments that would follow.
This year's National Day is particularly joyous since it takes place at a time when the Kingdom is celebrating the centennial of a historic event, the recapture of Riyadh by King Abdul Aziz. Having reclaimed his patrimony, he embarked on three decades of continuous efforts to mold the people of the larger part of the Arabian Peninsula into one nation. In pursuit of this monumental task, he was sustained first by his faith in Islam and second by his commitment to Arab heritage and culture. These two factors form the solid pillars of Saudi society, and the Kingdom's adherence to them has allowed the state to implement social and economic development without weakening the nation's social fabric.
In the Islamic century that has elapsed since King Abdul Aziz's recapture of Riyadh, which roughly corresponds to the Gregorian 20th century, the Kingdom can boast of great achievements in all areas of human endeavor. A vast country that was largely reliant on rudimentary farming and trade is now a center of learning, industry, banking, agriculture and commerce. Today, the large cities and towns in Saudi Arabia are all equipped with modern hospitals and clinics; universities, colleges and schools; and industrial plants and factories. They also are part of an integrated network of roads and telecommunications that covers the Kingdom.
While working to achieve social and economic progress, Saudi Arabia has not been neglectful of its Islamic duty to help those in need. Inside the Kingdom, people benefit from a wide range of social programs. Outside the Kingdom, Saudi Arabia has been a generous provider of funds to build schools, hospitals, roads, irrigation systems and industrial facilities in more than 70 underdeveloped countries. At the same time, it has responded to the plight of victims of natural disasters by rapidly providing emergency relief assistance. The Kingdom has also worked to alleviate the suffering of victims of wars and other man-made crises by providing financial and material assistance to refugees and the displaced, and by working at regional and international diplomatic levels to halt atrocities and prevent their recurrence.
During this centennial year, we feel particularly indebted to God for the many blessings He has bestowed on our nation, and also for giving us the compassion to help people in need wherever they may be. We pray that we may continue to be worthy of God's favors as we strive to set an example for our children and our fellow human beings to emulate.
Bandar Ibn Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz