Man patinka Lietuva

I like Lithuania – a visitor's point of view


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Day of Mourning and Hope in Vilnius

P1010184One of the first things I saw on my last visit as I made my way up past the Presidential Palace (Prezidentura) was a military flag party. They were raising and  lowering the national flags accompanied by the sound of a single side drum.

DSC01105DSC01112It was only the following day that I realised that all the  flags in the city were at half-staff (or half-mast if the flags are on ships) so I thought someone famous had died in Lithuania.

Then a Lithuanian colleague told me that it was for the Day of Mourning and Hope (Gedulo ir Vilties Diena).

This commemorates the date – 14 June 1941 – when the soviets started deporting Lithuanian families to the Gulags in Siberia. 

So Lithuanians remember and mourn an event from their recent past and hope it will never happen again.

Background: In 1998 the then President set up The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania. (For statistical details of the deportations click here).