Chilean President Ricardo Lagos has officially marked the 30th anniversary of the coup that toppled elected socialist President Salvador Allende.
In a symbolic act, he presided over the re-opening of a side door into the presidential palace that had been sealed by the military junta of General Augusto Pinochet.
Allende killed himself as soldiers were closing in on the presidential palace
Mr Lagos then gave a speech, in which he called on Chileans to ensure that the events of 11 September 1973 never happen again.
Thirty years ago firefighters carried the body of Allende out of the bombed presidential palace.
The door he came though was sealed, lest it become a shrine to the deposed president.
But in a moving ceremony to mark three decades since the coup, President Lagos walked alone up Morande Street and saluted the soldier standing guard.
The flag covering the entrance was removed and Mr Lagos walked through the newly remodelled door, to the delight of the assembled guests.
In his speech that followed he said the opening of the door was an expression of the freedom that can now be found in Chile.
However he warned his countrymen against complacency, saying that despite the country's progress it needs to keep strengthening its democratic institutions.
We have advanced a lot, he said, but we need to keep advancing more in a cohabitation based on respect, pluralism, tolerance and a unity of the nation's soul.