WARSAW, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Memorial ceremonies began in the Polish capital on Monday morning as the country marked the 73rd anniversary of the outbreak of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Germans during the World War II.
Polish President Andrzej Duda, Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz and a large group of veterans were among those taking part in the ceremonies near the Warsaw Uprising Museum, according to Polish Press Agency.
Although the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Germans did not end in a military victory for Poland, the heroism of the insurgents made it possible for the country to eventually regain full sovereignty, President Andrzej Duda said during Monday's ceremonies at Freedom Park near the Warsaw Uprising Museum.
The Polish president emphasised it was an important moment in the education of youth and, therefore, for the future of Poland.
"It's also important for me as the president of Poland, but first and foremost, as a citizen, a former boy scout, someone who was raised on the history and myth of the Warsaw Uprising, on the heroism of the insurgents", Duda added.
"I can say my willingness to serve the motherland was forged to a significant degree by those events and the way the young Polish people conducted themselves", the president said.
At the ceremony, Andrzej Duda presented state decorations to Warsaw insurgents and persons actively preserving the memory of the Warsaw Uprising
The 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Germans was one last attempt to save Poland's independence during World War II, the director of the Warsaw Uprising Museum, Jan Oldakowski said during ceremonies.
"Raised in a free Poland, you knew that freedom was the most precious value and you served it with the utmost dedication", Oldakowski said while addressing those who fought in the uprising 73 years ago.
The Warsaw Uprising broke out on Aug. 1, 1944 and was the biggest resistance operation in German-occupied Europe. Initially intended to last several days, it continued for over two months before it was brutally suppressed by the Germans. The uprising claimed the lives of 18,000 insurgents and around 200,000 civilians.
After the insurgents surrendered and the remaining 500,000 residents were expelled from the city, the Germans methodically burned down and blew up Warsaw house by house. By January 1945, about 90 percent of the buildings and city infrastructure were destroyed.