My Dear Fellow People,
Today is the sixteenth of February, two thousand and sixteenth.
Exactly one hundred years ago, in 1916, Lithuanians for the first time voiced their determination to declare independence. It happened at the Congress of Oppressed Peoples in Lausanne.
The 100th anniversary of the Act of February 16 – a profound and inspiring celebration of independence – is just two years away.
On our path to the centennial, we commemorated the 25th anniversaries of the Baltic Way, March 11 and January 13 – three historic milestones that mark twenty five years of our renewal, advancement and development as an independent nation.
Five long decades were ripped away from the one hundred years of our journey by the Soviet occupation which left us with many unhealing wounds. Some are like permafrost that no spring can thaw.
But we will eventually do away with them, just as we have removed the rusty sculptures from the Green Bridge in Vilnius.
The most important thing, however, is not the works we will create, the books we will publish or the monuments we will erect to commemorate the centenary.
Memorials are important. But what really matters is how we see them and what we feel about them.
The centennial celebration will enable us to perceive even more clearly what Lithuania and her people – all of us – have accomplished in one hundred years, what we have achieved throughout our lifespan.
So let us take a new look at Lithuania, at her place in the world and at the path we have walked.
Today we know: Lithuania will never again stand alone in her defense, if needed, like in critical moments of past history.
We are different today, and that’s how we will be tomorrow: brave, decisive and strong. And the best testimony to this is the Lithuanian army of conscripts and volunteers that enjoys enormous public support.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
February 16 reminds us that great aspirations translate into great results.
Let us have high visions for the future of Lithuania and create a Lithuania of our dreams.
Let us bind our hearts to Lithuania. Let us build strong roots that cannot be moved or uprooted.
So that we pass on the love of Lithuania to future generations like a gene of freedom and citizenship.
Let the tricolors fly high as we celebrate February 16.
Happy Independence Day to all in Lithuania and around the world!
Last updated 2016.02.16 15:15Back