RIGA- Several hundred people came out tocelebrate Lacplesis Day and watch the traditional military parade by the Freedom Monument tocommemorate the freedom fighters who won the country's independence in theWorld War I.
The parade was observed and greeted by Latvian President Valdis Zatlers, DefenceMinister Vinets Veldre and National Armed Forces (NAF) commander JurisMaklakovs.
Zatlers in his speech said "the 1919 freedom fights and the victory was oneof the most significant victories in Latvian history."
He stressed the fact that currently, Latviais a NATO member and not to worry about the nation's security. Zatlers wentaround greeting troops and thanked parents of the soldiers for "raisingnationalists."
Zatlers and other government representatives laid flowers at the FreedomMonument.
About 250 troops participated in the parade. The parade was watched by elderlypeople, many young people, students, school children, and foreign guests.
Later for the first time, a special ceremony for the change of guards ofhonor was held at the FreedomMonument,to mark the 16th anniversary for renewing the guard of honor by the monumentand the 90th anniversary of the Latvian state.
After restoration of Latvia'sindependence in 1991, November 11 was made the official date for commemorationof Latvian soldiers, who had died for the country's freedom. The date is calledLacplesis' Day after the Latvian folk epic hero Lacplesis, who fought againstforeign invaders for the freedom of Latvia.