On the 27th of October, members of the Lithuanian intelligentsia participated in a civic initiative known as „Centuries-old Woods“, dedicated to the remembrance of Jonas Noreika – General Storm. To honour the Lithuanian freedom fighter, it was decided that the new grove would be given the shape of the Columns of the Gediminids.
Scientists, educators, artists, lawyers, various public figures, entertainers, businessmen, scouts, members of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union and various other organisations participated in the event. During the planting, Lithuanian songs rang, an impressively sized historical flag of Lithuania was flown by a helicopter, and the Riflemen prepared a feast on a bonfire.
Well-known artists and representatives of culture contributed to the meaningful initiative
Well-known representatives of art and culture participated in the event dedicated to the remembrance of Jonas Noreika – General Storm. Painter Skaistė Semenikė was very glad to have been spending her time in a fulfilling way and honouring the freedom fighter.
„For the first time in my life I’ve planted a tree, sung Lithuanian folk songs and warmed up by a bonfire! What a fantastic event!“ said the well-known painter, S. Semenikė.
Photographer Jonas Staselis, who has also participated in the event, did not hide the joy he felt for having contributed to the remembrance. The artist accentuated the meaning of the connection between man and nature.
„The forest is abundance, shelter, faith. It’s a symbol of tranquillity and fortitude. I’m very glad that this commemoration was a synthesis of creating the eternal, as well as the temporary, an opportunity for us all to return to reason and responsibility“, shared his contemplations J. Staselis.
Painter Mykolė Ganusauskaitė also contributed to the civic initiative, „Centuries-old Woods“, as well as singer Agnė Sabulytė and group „Ugniavijas“, who warmed the participants with songs of the freedom fighters and the World’s Golden Fund.
Famous athletes participated in the project as well
Artists were not the only people to show interest in „Centuries-old woods“, however. Well-known athletes participated in the initiative as well.
„I planted an oak and am raising my son, Oak. Thank you for the beautiful opportunity to plant trees in unison. In the name of Lithuania“, said Olympian Ramūnas Vyšniauskas, who supported the planting of the grove from a different corner of Lithuania.
While sharing his thoughts on the initiative, world kickboxing champion Sergėjus Maslobojevas accentuated the importance of communality.
„In order to truly be a good person, not merely call yourself one, you must spread kindness and help those to whom you are close. I am sure that together, we are capable of much more“, said S. Maslobojevas.
Other well-known Lithuanian athletes have, for a long time, supported the idea that Jonas Noreika – General Storm deserves commemoration. For instance, Žydrūnas Savickas, a world-class professional strongman and powerlifter, has uploaded a photo of himself wearing a General Storm T-shirt, while famous football player Edgaras Jankauskas participated in the campaign near the Wroblewski Library for returning the commemorative plaque of Jonas Noreika.
Professor of the Faculty of Communication, Vilnius University: This planting gives meaning to the crucial essence of communication
The Head of the Political Communications department in Vilnius University, Andrius Vaišnys, along with his family, participated in the planting of „General Storm’s grove“ as well.
„When we finished planting the oak saplings, I listened to the tales told by Valdemaras Šimėnas of the partisan headquarters and locals, which were forced to live through war after war, which lived right there, near the mound of Didžiokai, and which are now gone, except for the memories of them that remain. My daughters were listening intently to what would have been a distant history lesson back at the city, but now, surrounded by nature, felt relevant: while nothing is visible among the autumn nature, it is not hard to imagine“, shared the university professor.
Professor A. Vaikšnys also emphasized the importance of the fact that there is an abundance of people who, driven by love for their history, have contributed to the grove-planting campaign.
„The „Centuries-old Woods“ initiative and, especially, planting it near the Molėtai highway that Sunday has one particularly significant communication cut for me: when many people who love their history, who love their heroes of the past, to whom it is the foundation of their presence on this Earth gather, it turns out that we are not alone, even if it may sometimes seem so. So the action is not about common code, but about the immortalization of personalities, events, and history: wherever you are, you know that planting an oak or two or more with your peers is a message that you remember,” emphasized the importance of respecting your history A. Vaikšnys.
The symbolical grove for the „Storm“ is only the beginning
„General Storm’s grove“, planted next to the Didžiokai mound, will be an integral part of the „Park of the Might and Honour of Lithuania“. According to historian Valdemaras Šimėnas, on whose land the grove is planted, it is planned to accommodate groups of trees dedicated to various Lithuanian historical events and personalities on the edges of the park.
„General Storm’s grove is only the allegorical business card of the future „Park of the Might and Honour of Lithuania“. In the future, it is planned to install a pathway at the edges of the 20-hectare park with named groups of trees, which will be arranged in chronological order. They will include groves dedicated to Lithuanian battles with the Crusaders, the King of Lithuania, various Lithuanian Grand Dukes, nobles, leaders of Lithuanian revolts, volunteers, battles, presidents, well-known people of the district, culture workers“, shared V. Šimėnas, History PhD, shared owner of the land.
Many are participating in the „Centuries-old woods“ campaigns
The organizers of the civic initiative „Centuries-old Woods“ have been promoting tree planting events that bring together hundreds of thousands of people, both in Lithuania and abroad, for several years now. This civic initiative encourages unity, activity, ecology and the creation of a more beautiful Lithuania through real work.
The project „Centuries-old Woods“ gives meaning to the very essence of a Lithuanian. In the woods, our ancestors fought with the Crusaders and other invaders, the Forest Brothers also took refuge there. The forest is still our breadwinner, providing us with essential goods and resources. For the modern man, tired of the never-ending rush, the woods often become a place to regain inner peace and harmony. Every tree planted is a kind of legacy for future generations, the meaning of a Lithuanian, immortalized in nature. The civic initiative „Centuries-old Woods“ aims to revive the tradition of tree planting in Lithuania, which would help endless forests flourish in a united and harmonious country.