Address by H.E. Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania, at the Celebration of the 91st Anniversary of Polish Independence Day
Your Excellency Mr. President,
Distinguished Members of the Polish Government and the Diplomatic Corps,
Dear People of Poland,
On behalf of all the people of Lithuania, I extend my sincere congratulations to you on the occasion of Independence Day! I am delighted and honored to be here in Warsaw and to be part of your celebrations today.
November 11 of 1918 is a very special day in the history of Poland. It marks a turning point on the path of building a modern and democratic Polish state. It is a day made possible by the strong spirit and dedication of the Polish people, their love of freedom and justice.
It is also a day of great joy for Lithuania. Freedom and independence have always been our ultimate goal and aspiration. Lithuania and Poland stood together in all major historical moments: the Battle of Žalgiris, the Krėva Act, the Union of Lublin, the Republic of Two Nations, the May 3rd Constitution, our shared pride in Tadeusz Kościuszko, Adam Mickiewicz and Czesław Miłosz, and nation-wide independence movements of Sąjūdis and Solidarność. History has taught us that freedom is not free. We had to fight for it and we sacrificed the most precious thing of all - human life. Today our commitment and resilience have been finalized by the Lithuanian-Polish strategic partnership - which we are building for the good of future generations.
Solidarność sparked off a succession of freedom movements in Poland and other Central and Eastern European countries, leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall and to the Baltic Way - a human chain linking Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in their drive for independence - all of which happened exactly twenty years ago. It was a time that opened the door for our region to join the family of European nations where we had always belonged, but were forced to forget about it. The love that Pope John Paul II had to the aspiration of all nations for freedom, especially his strong love of free and independent Poland and Lithuania, was a priceless contribution to our cause. In the past 20 years - a very short period of time on historical pathway - we have demonstrated that European values and trans-Atlantic cooperation are the founding principles of modern Lithuanian and Polish states and the source of our strength and vitality.
The events of our shared history clearly show that the people of Lithuania and Poland have built their achievements on the foundation of mutual trust, solidarity and unity.
Dear People of Poland,
My cordial congratulations to you all on Independence Day! I bow my head to the heroes and patriots who gave their lives for Polish independence. Their sacrifice has led us to this moment of great celebration of the dearest value of all - freedom.
Long live our freedom and independence!
Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania