VILNIUS – In her solemn message on the Day of Statehood – Coronation of King Mindaugas, Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite on Thursday urged the nation to feel the external support Lithuania enjoy and remember unity at all times.
"There have always been extraordinary people who used to find inner strength and courage for rebuilding a free and independent state from ruins and ashes to protect, cherish and defend it at all times after rebuilding it. They defended in a way all of us are currently trying to do for already 27 years of freedom. The first Republic did not survive till the end but we will. With all historic experience warning us about the high cost of failures and mistakes. With all the support, which Lithuania feels today and has not enjoyed at any other time in history," Grybauskaite said in her address to Vilnius residents and guests outside the President's Office.
In her festive speech, the president urged all Lithuanians sing the national anthem on one of the many hillforts of Lithuania on Thursday evening.
"Let's rally confidence in our country and force of unity from July 6. The unity that will echo on 100 hillforts in the evening, when we all sing the national anthem," said Grybauskaite.
The national flag and the historic flag of Lithuania were hoisted at the solemn ceremony outside the President's Office on Thursday morning. The ceremony is usually held at noon, however, was moved to an earlier hour, as the president is scheduled to leave for Warsaw for a summit of Central and Eastern European countries with US President Donald Trump.
Lithuanian troops fired three volleys for King Mindaugas, the state of Lithuania and the people of Lithuania, as Polish fighter jets serving in the NATO air-policing mission in the Baltic States made a fly-by over the Lithuanian capital.
Among participants of the ceremony were former heads-of-state Vytautas Landsbergis and Valdas Adamkus, members of the government and the parliament.
Events, concerts, and sports events are held in various cities across Lithuania to celebrate the Day of Statehood, with the nation traditionally gathering to sing the national anthem in the evening. In preparation for 2018 celebration of 100 years of restored statehood, the anthem will be sung on 100 of Lithuania's hillforts, with the main event scheduled to take place on Dubingiu hillfort in the evening.
Mindaugas was crowned as Lithuania's King on July 6 of 1253, with the coronation ending creation of Lithuania and gaining it worldwide recognition.
July 6 was announced a state holiday in 1990, the year when Lithuania regained independence from the Soviet Union.