Celebration of Latvian Lāčplēsis Day and Independence Day

The month of November has a special significance for Latvia and Latvian people. Although it might be one of the darkest, greyest and unpleasant months in this part of the world, it definitely is bright and shiny for Latvians. Especially this year, as Latvia is celebrating the 100th anniversary since the proclamation of independence.

It was on 18th of November 1918 that the Independence of Latvia was first proclaimed. However, the Liberation War still continued. On 11th of November Lāčplēsis Day - Latvian Army Day is celebrated marking the Latvian Army's victory over the West Russian Volunteer Army - a joint Russian-German volunteer force led by the warlord Pavel Bermondt-Avalov on 11th of November 1919. The victory over the forces of Bermont-Avalov allowed to begin the creation of the new state. On 11th of November, numerous candles are lit and various ceremonial events, including ecumenical church service, flower laying ceremony at the Riga Brethren cemetery followed by a military parade are held every year to commemorate Latvian Freedom Fighters.


Photos by Latvijas armija

As a tradition, on 11th of November 2018, Latvian students and staff members of the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) and their families participate in candle laying event on the steps of a monument placed to the Latvian soldiers and refugees who died during WWI and Independence War in New St. John’s cemetery in Tartu. This time, members of Tartu Latvian society, Ambassador of Latvia Raimonds Jansons and guests from Latvia also participated in this event.

In honour of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Latvia, a reception was held at BALTDEFCOL on 15th of November 2018, with several distinguished guests and BALTDEFCOL family. In his address to guests and BALTDEFCOL staff and students, Commandant of BALTDEFCOL, Major General Andis Dilāns stated that everything could be described in three words – REMEMBRANCE, APPRECIATION and ENCOURAGEMENT:
We must not forget that the Latvian army was born simultaneously with the state – it were the volunteers who started to report in and sign up to defend the country that proved the Latvian people’s will and readiness to sacrifice their lives for the freedom and statehood.
We have to show appreciation to the founding fathers, Latvian heroes and everyone who came under the red-white-red flag, who fought and fell for the nation, but as well as to the neighbours and Allies for their support.
Last but not least, we need encouragement to face the current geopolitical and security situation, to reconsider our values and reevaluate our capacities to fight and die for them, if necessary.
Together we are strong to protect achievements of our ancestor’s.

The programme also included, a speech by Mr Viesturs Silenieks, Parliamentary Secretary of Ministry of Defence of Latvia, an awarding ceremony to express gratitude to the Baltic Defence College officers for their highly professional and commendable service and a musical performance by Mr Viesturs Jansons, the soloist of the Latvian National Opera, and the jazz trio of the Latvian National Armed Forces orchestra followed by the reception.


On 16th of November, the BALTDEFCOL Latvian contingent participated in the reception organized on the occasion of the centenary of Latvia by H.E. Raimonds Jansons, Ambassador of Latvia to Estonia. The event was held at the Blackheads’ House (Mustpeade maja) in Tallinn.


On 18th of November 2018, MG Dilāns participated in the ecumenical church service at Rīga Cathedral, flower laying ceremony at the Monument of Freedom and a military parade in Riga, Latvia. BALTDEFCOL was also represented at the Latvian National Armed Forces' military parade with our own flag party.


Photo by Dainis Bušmanis                                                                      Photo by Latvijas armija

Happy 100th Anniversary, dear Latvia! Daudz Laimes Dzimšanas Dienā, Latvija!


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