Latvia marks Lāčplēša Diena

Speeches and ceremonies are the order of the day November 11 with Latvia holding its day of remembrance (Lāčplēša Diena) for the military and freedom fighters who dies during the struggle for independence. 

As well as gatherings at military cemeteries, bonfires, concerts, and awards ceremonies are scheduled with events traditionally centering on the walls of Riga castle where thousands of people light candles.

Latvia's day of remembrance is slightly different to those marked elsewhere. While November 11 marks Armistice Day at the end of the First World War in 1918 for many countries in Europe, in Latvia conflict raged on and November 11 marks the day of victory in a decisive battle a year later that helped maintain the newly-independent country's unity.

President Raimonds Vejonis led tributes, posting a message on his Twitter account saying that this was the day to honor Latvia's soldiers, "our fatherland's guards":

The Defense Ministry issued not one but two sets of Lāčplēša Diena greetings. Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis adopted a traditional approach, quoting Latvia's first President and adding words of his own saying "We will light candles in places of remembrance and in our hearts to remember our heroes."

 The Defense Ministry also issued Lāčplēša Diena greetings (bracketed along with Independence Day greetings for a week's time) from its top civil servant, Janis Garisons showing modern howitzers recently bought from Austria.

NATO's Riga-based Strategic Communication Center of Excellence (STRATCOMCOE) also added its voice.

For a full description of the historic events forming the backdrop to Lačplēša Diena, and more on the history of November 11 in Latvia, we recommend this very informative summary HERE.

Riga City Council produced a nice graphic for the occasion.

 

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