Dear Fellow People of Lithuania,
I extend my greetings to you on the Day of Statehood – a very special summertime holiday for us all!
This year, July 6 is also an occasion to remember and express gratitude to historian Edvardas Gudavičius who is no longer with us.
It is through his endeavors that we now have a great national day which brings all patriotically minded Lithuanian people together, allowing us to go back in thought to the very origins of Lithuania – the fateful moment that launched the timeline of our common history.
767 years ago, King Mindaugas inscribed himself in the annals of history as a man who gave a symbolic start to the State of Lithuania and opened the door to Europe. It is because of his efforts that a small country by the rivers of Nemunas and Neris entered Western civilization as an independent actor – and continues to be there to this day.
The coronation of Mindaugas was an important political and diplomatic victory. The first king of Lithuania seized a unique historic opportunity and carved a new political entity on the world map – future home for the Lithuanian nation. The accomplishments of subsequent Lithuanian heroes deepened the lines set down by Mindaugas further in the direction of the West – only the West!
The ability to make the only right choice ran as a key leitmotif throughout Lithuanian history. The signatories of the Independence Acts of February 16 and March 11 had the same mindset.
The rich tradition of statehood, started by Mindaugas, allowed Lithuania to grow and mature in the family of European nations and to resist those who wanted to stifle our freedom.
Despite many historical upheavals, we kept a strong hold on national identity. We have always been and we will continue to be open to those who love freedom and respect the laws of our country. Together with partners from the European Union and NATO, we are working to create a space of democracy, stability and welfare in the changing world.
We have inherited a duty to do everything we can to be true owners of our land. To spread light where others would prefer to instill darkness. To stand firm with our roots deeply set in the European soil by Mindaugas, the King of Lithuania.
History means little without those who share, relive and give meaning to it. Medieval advances would have no value without today’s efforts. The glorious victories of the past would pale into insignificance if we could not pick their fruit today.
That is why I am happy to see so many patriots of Lithuania – those who love their state and celebrate its birthday together. I send my greetings and wish you to cherish unity and mutual understanding. Not to put up barriers, but to build roads that connect us.
Let us seek together the things that seem to be daring and unachievable – but certainly possible for us!
Thank you all!