"This is more than just an idea. We intend to informally approach his family, we do not want to make contacts via the expatriate community and will first of all try to find out the family's will informally. We know the president's will but we also need his family's will – otherwise the initiative will be senseless," Kaunas mayor told BNS.
In Kupčinskas' words, the family's will should be known after the summer. Should the idea also secure support of the expatriate community, a task force could be set up in autumn, Kupčinskas said.
"There would be a discussion: [to bury] in Vilnius, Kaunas, or his hometown. On the other hand, he spent his most prominent years in Kaunas – due to historic circumstances, Kaunas had to represent all Lithuania, spread the idea of statehood and defend independence. It seems to us [he should be reburied] in Kaunas, possibly next to the Church of Resurrection," Kupčinskas said in comment of the possible place of reburial.
Killed in a tragic fire in the United States in 1944, Smetona was buried in Cleveland. In 1975, his remains were moved to All Souls Cemetery in Chardon, Ohio, where his relatives live.
2014 marks 140 years since the birth of Smetona, who was Lithuania's first president in 1919-1921 and then returned to power after a coup in 1926. Next year is also the 70th anniversary of Smetona's death.
Smetona is revered for securing Lithuania's independence and national spirit in the interwar period. At the same time, critics note his undemocratic governance style and failure make any address to the nation before fleeing to Germany right before the Soviets invaded Lithuania in 1940.