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Thursday, January 13, Vilnius - President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė attended a special sitting of the Seimas dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Day of the Defenders of Freedom.

The President underlined in her speech that there were days in the life of every nation when the power of will, unity and resilience of its people were tested and when their fate was determined. For Lithuania that day was January 13.

“Freedom was not given as a gift. We had to fight for it. People from all over Lithuania, each individually and all together, stood up to defend their homeland. We clearly realized then that only freedom could preserve our homeland and independence. We rejoiced in the support extended by other nations and we were proud to see their flags of freedom flying side by side with Lithuanian tricolors. We summoned the people and their faith in truth and freedom to protect independence. We summoned their aspiration to live in dignity and respect of our fundamental values and heritage,” President Dalia Grybauskaitė said.

The President pointed out that as we honored those who were killed on January 13, we had to believe that the guilty would be brought to justice as there was no limitation for crimes against humanity and freedom of a nation.

“We passed the test of history and courage with blazing bonfires and resounding songs of hope, and it will be always etched in our minds. These memories commit us to build a Lithuania that we fought for on January 13 – free, progressive and fair to every citizen,” the President said.

After the Seimas sitting, the President watched the flag-hoisting ceremony on the Independence Square and gave honours to the memory of those killed on January 13, in the Antakalnis Cemetery.