Thousands of Latvians are commemorating its war time independence victory over Russia 95 years ago. On November 11,1919, the Russian Army was out driven from Riga during the Latvian War of Independence. The day was named after the Latvian hero Lāčplēsis who had bear ears. He has since become a symbol of heroism and devotion to the state.
The Order of Lāčplēsis, the first and the highest Latvian military award with engraved phrase "Par Latviju" (For Latvia), was established in 1919.
The Order was presented to soldiers of the Latvian Army, former Latvian Riflemen and foreigners who had participated in the Latvian War of Independence or had supported and promoted the establishment of the Latvian state. The Order is on public display at the Latvian National History Museum during the day.
The day starts with a commemorative church service. In Riga, flowers are laid at the Riga Brethren Cemetery, followed by a military parade in front of the Monument of Freedom.
In the evening, thousands of people converge at the Daugava Riverside to lay candles at the Riga Castle, paying tribute to the soldiers. Special concerts and torch processions in various locations are also being held.