"Twenty-two years ago, Lithuania declared to the world it was restoring an independent and democratic state. We became free, as we believed that Lithuania should become a home for all of us. I wish we could continue believing in freedom and contribute to its development. Let's have a Lithuania that is a good place to live at all times – a safe, strong independent country," Grybauskaitė said in a communiqué published by the President's Office.
In her words, the 11 March meant freedom and commitments for Lithuania. The president said the people of Lithuania should remain civil and mindful of their duties as citizens, saying they "should always feel that Lithuania starts with every one of us."
On 11 March, 1990, Lithuania's Supreme Council – Reconstituent Seimas adopted the Re-Establishment of Independence Act, which declares restitution of the country's sovereign powers that were taken away by a foreign country in 1940.
State as a uniting force
Chairman of the Council of Ethnic Communities, Mahiras Gamzajevas, said in his speech at a solemn meeting of Lithuania's parliament on Re-Establishment of Independence Day on 11 March that the biggest loss was Lithuania's failure to develop an open civil society over its 22 years of independence.
"We have failed to preserve the feeling of unity and responsibility of Lithuanians and all other nations living in the country, the feeling that inspired us and gave Lithuania strength over the years of revival. Yes, we're different – we speak different languages, have our own customs and traditions, think differently. We may even have different understanding of human rights and civil duties. Nevertheless, we should be united by Lithuania as a common denominator. It will not be safe and strong until our respect towards Lithuania is bigger than our differences," said Gamzajevas.
He recalled that representatives of national minorities were involved in restoration of Lithuania's freedom.
Freedom needs refilling
Lithuania's Parliamentary Speaker Irena Degutienė made a congratulatory speech on the occasion of Re-Establishment of Independence Day on 11 March, saying that freedom could not be won once and for all times and needed constant protection.
"Freedom is not achieved once and for good. It needs constant protection, defense and be refilled with meaningful and moral content of life. Only then will our lives and our freedom be genuine, and our society feature unity, confidence and power. The society we had on the historic 11 March, 1990," Degutienė said at the solemn hoisting of flags of the Baltic states in the Independence Square on Sunday noon.
In her address to the participants of the ceremony, the parliamentary speaker said: "On the evening of 11 March, 1990, the parliament sent a message to the world on behalf of the nation: Lithuania exists. We are a state that continues our history. We are a nation that defends its rights and its dignity."
"Historians still disagree whether Europe and the world were ready for this. What is most important is that we were ready. We were ready historically, politically and, most importantly, morally. When the freedom of a nation and a person coincide along with the hopes of a nation and a person, the deepest and the most genuine feelings come to light. The true love for one's Homeland is revealed. There are not many moments of this type in lives of nations and people, but they will never be forgotten by those who have felt them," Degutienė noted.