At the end of February, on the occasions of the 30th anniversary of Lithuania‘s independence, we invited the readers of the TV3.lt website to select the 30 people who contributed the most to the creation of the independent Lithuania we live in today.
Today we not only publish the names of the people that, according to you, deserve that gratitude but also present the author of this initiative – businessman Andrius Tričius from Ukmergė.
A.Tričius will present to all the selected people his exclusive handcrafted knives decorated with state heraldry.
Project initiator and businessman A.Tričius
“The path towards Lithuania‘s independence was not an easy one, but we succeeded in achieving it nonetheless. We managed to secure Lithuania‘s safety and energy independence, our scientists, athletes and artists are winning awards on the international level. Lithuania‘s current economic situation is at its highest point.”
“When looking at the road independent Lithuania has taken, I see specific people that overcame it by dedicating themselves to work for and serve their homeland. These are specific names and faces, which we are obligated to name loudly. They deserve our gratitude and respect. Although there is still much work to be done, we have to look back and celebrate what we have already achieved,” believes Andrius Tričius, who came back to Lithuania to create his business after living abroad for eight years.
“Let this be my contribution toward this important celebration of Lithuania“, said the young man, whose handcrafted knives are appreciated by Lithuanian and foreign hunters, active leisure lovers, and armed forces personnel.
According to A.Tričius, a knife is a symbol of our strength, responsibility and an uncompromising attitude towards working for the betterment of Lithuania
Faithfull gift and a movie-worthy business beginnings
If we wanted to purchase knives made by the resident of Ukmergė, we would have to wait as long as a year for some models and be prepared to spend over 500 Euros. The handcrafted knives, made in a workshop staffed by six people, get sent to the US, China, Finland, Spain, Italy and other countries. Militaristic TRC knives made by Andrius are used by Lithuania’s Aitvaras special forces and Lithuania’s armed forces. When NATO certified these knives, they piqued the interest of Germany’s armed forces as well.
All of this work began when Andrius, together with his wife and two sons, decided to return to Lithuania after spending eight years living in the United Kingdom.
“The eldest son was due to start school soon. At that point, we had to decide which country did we want to spend our lives in. I wanted my son to be able to speak Lithuanian, grow surrounded by our culture. Besides, England lacked nature. Because of these reasons, we decide to pack out belongings and return,” said A.Tričius.
In the beginning, the man took on various jobs in construction sites, opened a pizzeria, car wash, and in the evenings he tried to solve a heart-wrenching puzzle – how to make a perfect knife. He received a hunting knife as a gift; however, he did found it to be uncomfortable. After many nights spent in front of the computer reading up on the manufacturing process of knives, Andrius moved to the basements of the house and started working with metal. That is how his first handcrafted knife saw the light of day. The man showed a knife to his hunter friends, who were not only impressed but also bought it. Later on, a second, third and fourth knife was purchased, and there was suddenly constant demand. An idea was born that someone beside Andrius‘ hunter friends should see the knife and share their professional opinion.
TRC knives workshop team
That is how the knives made by Andrius reached Lithuania‘s Association of Knife Makers, which was impressed by them. Step by step, Andrius got into the knife, making business and established the TRC Knives brand, which is now perhaps better known abroad than in Lithuania.
Andrius is certain that a knife has to last a long time, which is why he never picks quantity over quality. He makes his knives from the highest grade materials, which are used the best knives manufacturers in the world, and makes just over 2000 knives per year in his workshop.
“It would be an honour if my work is enjoyed and used by the men and women who contributed to the creation of our country. To me, a knife is a symbol of our strength, responsibility and an uncompromising attitude towards working for the betterment of Lithuania,“ said Andrius Tričius.
Seeks to pass on to the sons
A.Tričius together with his son, Mark
Attitudes towards manhood, patriotism and responsibility A. Tričius hopes to pass on to his sons. His eldest son, Mark, is currently serving as a volunteer in the Lithuanian army.
“We live in a unique country with lots of nature. Here we have our language, habits and culture. I began to appreciate all this a lot more after living abroad. I think it’s a good experience for everyone. I clearly understood that I want to live here, and I want to feel dignified when stating Lithuania‘s name. The kind of Lithuania we are creating every day depends on every one of us. There is no need to achieve grand things. Perhaps we just greet our neighbours, keep our promises, avoid littering in nature, or are prepared to protect ourselves if the need arises. Or perhaps we are only complaining? Small daily achievements are very important,“ pondered the man from Ukmergė.
According to A. Tričius, it is no less important to openly and loudly name the heroes of our country and, in such a way, clearly set the course of our values for the younger generation. “This is the real meaning of these celebrations,“ he believed.
We are announcing 30 most deserving creators of freedom, selected by the TRC Knives team and TV3.lt website readers.
Creators of freedom selected by TRC Knives team:
- Vytautas V. Landsbergis, professor, Chairman of the Restoration Seimas
- Valdas Adamkus, former President of Lithuania
- Dalia Grybauskaitė, former President of Lithuania
- Gitanas Nausėda, current President of Lithuania
- Audrius Butkevičius, first Minister of National Defence
- Rasa Juknevičienė, former Minister of National Defence
- Liudas Mažylis, a historian who discovered the original February 16th Act
- Edmundas Jakilaitis, journalist, statesman
- Juozas Jakavonis-Tigras, member of Lithuania‘s former guerrilla forces
- Valdemaras Rupšys, Lieutenant General of the Lithuanian armed forces
Creators of freedom selected by the tv3.lt website readers:
- Česlovas Juršėnas. Journalist, politician, a signatory to Lithuania‘s Independent State Restoration Act, multiple term Member of Seimas. Held the position of Chairman and Deputy-Chairman of Seimas. Long term deputy-chairman of Lithuania‘s Democratic Party that later became Social Democratic Party.
- Andrius Kubilius. Lithuanian politician, ex-Prime Minister, Member of Seimas, Chairman of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats party. Elected to Seimas each time since 1992.
- Antanas Terleckas. Dissident, underground press publisher, a political prisoner who spent time in Siberian gulags, Lukiškės prison, Ural, and was exiled to Magadan. One of the most active members of the resistance forces against the Soviet regime, and a fervent supporter of human rights, founder of the Lithuanian freedom league. In 2012 m. he won Lithuania‘s freedom award.
- Vygaudas Ušackas. Director of the Kaunas Technological University’s European Institute. Former minister of foreign affairs, ambassador to the US, Mexico and Britain. Lead negotiator on Lithuania‘s accession to the European Union. During 2010-2013 was a lead envoy to Afghanistan. Four times Director of the EU Representation to the Russian Federation.
- Alfredas Bumblauskas. Historian, professor. During 1990-2002 m. he was the dean of Vilnius University History faculty. Received Lithuania’s Culture and Arts award for the creation of the TV show Būtovės Slėpiniai. Received the cross of the Vytautas the Great Order and the Belgian Crown Order Commodore cross.
- Libertas Klimka. Physicist, Doctor of natural sciences, ethnologist, scientific historian, and professor of Lithuania’s educational university. He is also the founder of the cross-discipline sciences – paleo astronomy and ethno cosmology – in Lithuania. He received Jonas Basanavičius and Stasys Šalkauskis awards.
- Vytautas Sirvydis. A surgeon that has performed all types of heart surgeries, and worked as part of a team who performed the first heart transplant in the Baltic states. With others, he performed the first reconstructive surgery of the stomach aorta and kidney artery in Lithuania and created an experimental heart transplant model. Lithuania’s laureate of sciences.
- Virginijus Šikšnys. Nobel prize nominee, DNA editing researcher, biochemist, Doctor of physical sciences, professor. Published over 90 scientific articles, and co-authored five patent submissions. Together with foreign partners, he establishes a third of the spatial structures and functioning mechanisms of around 50 globally known enzymes that can cut DNA. While researching restriction endonucleases, he published eight joint articles together Nobel prize winner professor Robert Huber. Received Lithuania’s science award as well as many other Lithuanian and global awards.
- Virgilijus Alekna. Lithuanian discus thrower, winner of the 2000 m., 2004 m. Olympic games, winner of the Bronze medal in the 2008 m. Olympic games. Two times world and European champion, four times winner of Lithuania’s best athlete title, and the winner of the world’s best light athlete and of Europe’s best light athlete titles.
- Rūta Meilutytė. Lithuanian swimmer, winner of Olympic and European champion titles. She has set multiple swimming records in Lithuania.
- Arvydas Sabonis. President of Lithuania’s Basketball Federation, long-time basketball player, winner of Olympic and World champion titles.
- Žydrūnas Savickas. Lithuania’s strongman, winner of multiple world and European championships, holder of the world’s strongest man title.
- Andželika Cholina. One of the most talented choreographers, awarded the “The Cross of the Golden Scene”, order “For merits to Lithuania“, and the Culture Ministry’s badge of honour “Carry your light and believe”.
- Asmik Grigorian. Named the best opera soloist by the “International Opera Awards” in 2019. A well-known singer that has been awarded “Golden Scene Cross” twice awarded order “For merits to Lithuania”. Last year she was awarded Lithuania’s national culture and arts award.
- Oskaras Koršunovas. Movie director that established a theatre in his name, with whom he hosts shows around the world. Laureate of the Lithuanian national culture and arts award, bearer of the Second Order of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas the second.
- Gintaras Rinkevičius. Founder of Lithuania’s national symphonic orchestra, conductor, arts manager. Received many awards in Lithuania and abroad. Awarded Order of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas IV degree, Norway’s Order “For merits”, Lithuania’s national culture and arts award, Portuguese order “Ordem do Merito Comendador”, order “For merits to Lithuania”, and Grand Cross of the Commander.
- Jonas Kronkaitis. Former Commander of Lithuania’s armed forces, and former Vice-Minister of national defence, member of the Baltic Institute Council and one of their founders. During the Soviet period, he was active in the Lithuanian community of the United States. Awarded Officer’s Cross of Vytautas the Great Order.
- Danutė Lapėnaitė ir Daiva Morozovienė. Senior psychologist of the Doctor Jonas Basanavičius military medical services psychology section Major Danutė Lapėnaitė, and military medical psychiatrist Captain Daiva Morozovienė have been for the past eight years organising voluntarily monthly meetings at the St. Ignotas Church for people who have experienced loss.
- Jonas Ohmanas. Lithuanian Swede, movie director, manager of Ukraine supporting organisation Blue/Yellow. Since 2014 m. this organisation has received over 1 million dollars in donations, which were used to provide humanitarian support and to buy military equipment for Ukrainians. By protecting Ukraine’s independence, we are protecting our own freedom; therefore, J. Ohman’s contribution to the activities of the organisation are also very important to Lithuania.
- Jonas Vytautas Žukas. Former Lithuanian armed forces commander. Awarded multiple times: January 13th medal, Lithuanian armed forces creator volunteer medal, Lithuania‘s independence medal, Lithuanian armed forces medal “For merits”, The cross of the Knights of Vytis order, international military sports council (CISM) order “For merits”.