- February 16, 2012
Lithuanian National Independence Celebration with the participation of the Polish President
Last Thursday in Lithuania marked the official celebrations of the 94th anniversary of the revival of the state – the Day of the Revival of the Lithuanian State.
On this occasion, the President of Poland, Bronisław Komorowski, came to Lithuania and participated in the ceremony of drawing of flags of three Baltic States at midday on the Daukantas Square. The President of Poland wished Lithuanian a safe heaven and wished himself that the Lithuanian Poles also felt safe under this heaven.
— On the Day of the Revival of the State, I wish all the citizens of the independent Lithuanian state that this heaven – today so beautiful – was always safe and friendly and so that everyone felt safe and good underneath it, everyone, thus also Poles, citizens of free Lithuania – said President Bronisław Komorowski.
The President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė, on the other hand, stressed in her speech the need for “intransigence” in resolving the matters vitally important for the country.
— In 1918 Lithuania was created as a result of an intransigent act of willingness. The creators of our state chose a complete sovereignty. They decided not to make any exceptions in resolving the matters vitally important for the country. Today, we should also behave exactly in such manner – no compromises towards corruption, lawlessness of clans and the lack of respect for people, law and the state – said President Dalia Grybauskaitė.
The President of Poland noticed in his speech that regaining of independence by Lithuania and Poland nearly 100 yeas ago, was marked by the dispute on borders.
— This time, we regained it together, in solidarity, not against each other, also together, we have strengthened jointly our freedom through the membership in NATO and the EU – said President Bronisław Komorowski.
After the ceremony on the Daukantas Square, the Presidents of Lithuania and Poland jointly took part in the official Holy Mass in the Vilnius Cathedral.
The Presidents of Lithuania and Poland, Dalia Grybauskaitė and Bronisław Komorowski, held a private meeting. Photo: ELTA
After the mass, a private face to face meeting of the Presidents was held at the Presidential Palace. Thus, it is not known if Grybauskaitė and Komorowski had a chance to talk also about the problems of national minorities, which were stressed by Poles. Earlier, the President met with the Polish community in Soleczniki and in Jaszuny, where at the local cemetery, he placed flowers on the grave of the outstanding Polish scientist, Rector of the University of Vilnius, Jan Śniadecki.
Despite the great cold, also in Jaszuny, the crowds of compatriots with Lithuanian and Polish flags were waiting for the Polish President. As they said, they had come to greet the noble guest. “And that’s all from the positives…” – were saying our interlocutors without much hope that the visit of the Polish President will stop the worsening situation of Poles in Lithuania. Despite this, the inhabitants of Jaszuny commonly agreed that such visits are necessary as they uphold the spirit of the compatriots.
During the meeting in Soleczniki, President Komorowski also talked about his closeness to Lithuania and Poles living here, as well as with the Soleczniki country, about which he was told by his father – a soldier of the 6th Residual Brigade of the Home Army, which also operated at Solcza.
After the short meeting with the compatriots in Jaszuny, the President departed for the official celebrations of the Day of the Revival of the Lithuanian State.
After the celebrations and the conversation with the President Grybauskaitė, Bronisław Komorowski before his departure to Warsaw, visited Ponary, where he placed bouquets on the graves of the murdered – during the Second World War by the Nazis and their Lithuanian allies – thousands of Vilnius Poles. President Komorowski ended his visit in Ponary, which already became a good tradition, when the President of Poland comes to Vilnius on 16th February for the independence celebrations of Lithuania, and the President of Lithuania pays a visit in Warsaw on 11th November on the Independence Day of Poland.
The independence celebrations in Lithuania have already lasted for several days. Meanwhile, main ceremonies were planned for 16th February, where in 1918 Taryba passed the Act of Independence. On Thursday morning, the representatives of the country – President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius and the Head of Seimas Irena Degutienė, placed flowers on the graves of the signatories of the Act from 1918 at the cemetery on Rossa. In the afternoon, 16 bonfires were lit on the Giedymin Avenue, while fireworks are scheduled for the evening on the Cathedral Square.
Tłumaczenie Małgorzata Juchniewicz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Małgorzata Juchniewicz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.