Latvian Defense Ministry wants new, official 'Soldiers' Day'

Latvia's Ministry of Defense is calling for the establishment of an official 'Soldiers' Day' on the national calendar in addition to the existing Lāčplēsis Day on November 11 when people traditionally remember military personnel.

The ministry is suggesting July 10 as the new calendar date, as on that date in 1919, a united Latvian army was formed by combining the South Latvian and the North Latvian Brigades. It is regarded as the birthday of the Latvian Army.

"Over the last few years, events around the birth of the Latvian Army have grown and diversified. There are celebrations within units, celebrations with concerts, and society is much more engaged. For example, this year we received a lot of congratulations, both virtual and face-to-face," said Daina Ozoliņa, a Ministry of Defense spokeswoman.

Therefore, the ministry wants to make this day an official day of Latvian soldiers giving people the chance to "celebrate directly with soldiers who are currently in service, or who have been in the past, to congratulate them," said Ozolina.

At present the official Latvian calendar already has 27 set memorial and celebration days and 15 holidays.

November 11, Lāčplēsis Day, is the day upon which members of the public chiefly remember those who have worn the national uniform. Recent years have seen officially-backed initiatives to get members of the national guard or Zemessardze to wear their military uniforms to work on that day too.

The Defense Ministry idea is for an additional day in the summer, not a replacement. 

The sargs.lv military portal has a calendar listing all the days of military significance in Latvia's history.

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