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Address by H.E. Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania, at the Flag Raising Ceremony in Daukanto Square

Dear Fellow People of Lithuania,


Today as we stand and watch our national tricolor going up, we feel deeply grateful to those who turned the twilight of February 16th into the dawn of hope. Twenty signatories - and the many brave patriots behind them - proclaimed the restoration of Lithuanian independence. They inspired future generations to cherish freedom and to fight for it.


We have the Declaration of Independence as a testimony of those days and a commitment to great accomplishments by a small nation. But we have much more than that. As we look back into the past, let us learn.


Let us learn the spirit of true principles. In 1918 Lithuania was born from an act of uncompromising will. The founding fathers of our nation chose full and complete independence.


They chose not to make any exceptions when deciding issues of vital importance to the state. It was so with them and it is the only way for us. There can be no compromises on corruption, narrow group self-interests, and disrespect for the human person, the law or the state.


Let us learn the spirit of responsibility. In those days, the best and the brightest of Lithuania came together for the common goal. The names of those who did not find the time, the wish or the possibility to join the cause of Lithuania were covered by the sands of history.


Let us be responsible for our country and its future. Let us engage in state affairs and put a stop to indifference. As the poet Justinas Marcinkevičius, who left us on this very day a year ago, wrote: "You must mold the Fatherland forever. Mold and create, create and mold."


Let us learn unity. Many of the signatories, just like most Lithuanian intellectuals of those times, received education outside Lithuania. Some lived in other countries. But it did not prevent them from working for the good of their homeland. Today Lithuania is where there is at least one Lithuanian. We have to ensure that neither distances nor differences hinder our joint efforts to make Lithuania better. So let us all stand together.


My Dear Fellow People,


We have a great, rich history to guide us toward the solutions of tomorrow. May the spirit of patriotism and citizenship of our founding fathers promote the love of Lithuania in our deeds and actions.


Happy Independence Day to all of us!


Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania



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