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Lithuania's chief of defense: Battle outside parliament 21 years ago was minor but decisive

Parlamento gynėjo Artūro Sakalausko žūties metinių minėjimas
A.Pliadžio nuot. / Commemoration of Artūras Sakalauskas' death anniversary
Šaltinis: BNS
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The battle against Soviet troops outside Lithuania's Supreme Council (parliament) 21 years ago, when parliament defender Artūras Sakalauskas was killed, was decisive for Lithuania, Chief of Defense Lieutenant General Arvydas Pocius said on Tuesday.

"This is the exact place where the final battle took place. The final battle with troops of the occupation army. It was minor in terms of bloodshed but significant historically," Pocius said at a commemoration of Sakalauskas' death anniversary near the Lithuanian Seimas on Tuesday evening.

Pocius believes not only witnesses of those events but also young people should come to this place.

"I think the young generation of today should come here every year and continue our tradition and know what happened here, visit this place and pay respect. A nation is strong when it knows its history and its losses," the chief of defense said.

Sakalauskas' mother Genovaitė Sakalauskienė said her son and other freedom defenders would always remain in the memory of the nation.

Speaker of the Seimas, Irena Degutienė, said those killed for Lithuania's freedom had always been and would always be revered as heroes.

"The fact that we are a free nation and a free country is, first of all, a credit to freedom fighters. And a credit to victims of freedom, including Loreta killed on 13 January and other defenders, border guards killed on 31 July, Artūras Sakalauskas killed on 21 August. Those who laid down their lives have always been and will always be national heroes," Degutienė said.

Born in Alytus, southern Lithuania, Sakaulauskas joined the National Defense Volunteer Forces after the Soviet Union attempted to overthrow Lithuania's legitimate government in January 1991. He was killed on 21 August 1991 while defending the building of the Supreme Council (parliament). Another two defense volunteers were also injured then.

BNS
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