Honorable prime minister Juri Ratas,
Honorable ministers Urmas Reinsalu and Vilius Šapoka,
Dear Consul general Kairi,
Fellow Latvians and our Baltic friends,
I am truly honored to represent Latvian Government and people at this very special occasion. Today, indeed, is a double celebration. First, it is a day of Baltic Unity when we pay tribute to the solidarity and a legendary joint struggle for our statehood, freedom and independence that our forefathers fought together at the battle of Saule in 1236. That was one of our first victories! Second, today we look back and reflect on the more recent developments when Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians have showed to the world that that they demand immediate restoration of their legitimate right to recover liberty, democracy, independence and rightful place among the European nations.
This year, we mark the 30th anniversary of this monumental, non-violent, Gandhi-esque civic action that still is widely admired and continue to inspire people around the world. We should pass its legacy in particular to the young generation that has grown over the last 30 years. I would like to thank the producers of the documentary and as well the curators of the exhibition for their lasting contribution.
Our nations now too well that freedom is not free and we should always vigilant and prepared to defend our values. I was 18 when we were standing with my parents, uncle and brothers on the Sigulda highway. We did not have mobile phones, internet, we did not know how fast we will succeed, what kind of immediate consequences this action will bring about. However, we were confident that it was right, legitimate and had to be done to challenge the foreign occupation, politically, morally and economically bankrupt Soviet regime. That was the first public demonstration when our peoples had liberated ourselves from fear, enforced hibernation and apathy. Instead, we restored dignity, full confidence and gained mutual respect and admiration among our Baltic friends in a common freedom movement. We were united in determination to sacrifice together for the common good. Just two years later, on September 17, 1991, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania became the full-fledged member of the United Nations.
I wish for all of us to keep this moral compass and clarity of thinking in the future. We should continue to cultivate this very special bond between our nations. We are a very unique example of regional cooperation and integration. I would claim that this special friendship and kinship is existential for our prosperity and survival.
Lastly, I would like to congratulate once again our Estonian friends on their recent election to the UN Security Council. Estonia has won this position in a very competitive race. It`s a remarkable inspirational story of telescoping the development in one generation from a former captive nation, a recipient of the international aid to the elected member of the high table of the UN and a donor in the digital domain. I wish my colleagues every success in this difficult mission and wealth, health, prosperity of the Baltic nations!
Elagu Eesti, Laisve Lietuva, Brīvību Latvijai!