Archive for August, 2019

The Lithuanian American Club in St. Petersburg, Florida, invited representatives from the local Latvian and Estonian communities to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Baltic Chain/Baltic Way on Sunday, August 25, 2019, in their lovely community hall. This wonderful luncheon event drew together more than 140 participants who enjoyed a delicious home-cooked Lithuanian meal and great fellowship. The program was hosted by Ms. Donata Koverienė, President of the Lithuanian American Club, and we are grateful to Ms. Koverienė and the members of the board for planning this significant commemorative event. Thank you! Ms. Koverienė asked those who participated in the Baltic Way in 1989 to stand; we were astonished to see approximately 12 to 15 individuals rise. Speakers from the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian communities participated in the program. Peep Rebane and Lisa Mets offered remarks on behalf of the Estonian Society of Central Florida. At the conclusion of the remarks, all in the room stood, grabbed hold of each others’ hands and our countries’ flags, and re-enacted the Baltic Chain/Baltic Way. It is true to say there were tears in many of the participants’ eyes.

Among her remarks, Lisa said the following:

In Estonian, we call the August 23, 1989, event the Balti kett. In English: Baltic chain.

Before that date, when we heard the word chain, many of us might have envisioned chains of slavery. After all, our Baltic nations have long histories of living as peasants even slaves under rule and oppression by neighboring countries.

Since 1989, when we hear Baltic chain,

    we see links of hands tightly bonded together in a human chain that cannot and will not be broken

Ah, and the way Lithuanians call the event in English, Baltic Way, evokes this thought:
It makes us see that Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians are peace-loving people.

    It makes us see that
    the way we engage in protest is a peaceful way

We knew that the way to freedom would not be achieved through more war or violence. It is through peaceful protest, peaceful means.

It is said the Estonians sang their way to freedom through their song festival. Imagine songs sung in peaceful protest in song festivals every five years starting in 1869 and especially again in 1989, which has become known as the singing revolution. This summer Estonia celebrated the 150th anniversary of the song festival; we will keep singing in peace for more peace. Like Lithuania and Latvia, we demonstrate, even prove, that peace begets more peace.

Today, as we commemorate the Baltic Chain:
Human ties, human bonds that are so strongly united, like links in a chain, they cannot be broken apart,

Today, as we commemorate the Baltic Way:
Human ties, human bonds that bring freedom through peaceful means,

Let us shout out together, “Still free! Our countries are still free!” May it be forever so.

The Lithuanian American Club maintains a Facebook page, and you may view photographs and a video of this event here: Lithuanian American Club St. Petersburg FL facebook page.

Thank you again to the Lithuanian American Club for hosting this memorable event!

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