Latvia remembers its soldiers

Military cemeteries and landmarks across Latvia will be illuminated by candles Wednesday as the country marks its day of remembrance for the military, better known as 'Lāčplēša' day after the mythical hero Lāčplēsis.

As well as ceremonies of remembrance, concerts, lectures and awards ceremonies are scheduled with events traditionally centering on the walls of Riga castle where thousands of people light candles.

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:

"Marking Lacplesis day we honor our soldiers, who defended and today defend our homeland - Latvia! We shall be proud of our soldiers, Latvia's army!"

In a statement Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis stressed the theme of patriotism.

"These solemn events and moments of reflection see the widest range of emotions stirring within every Latvian patriot... we honor those compatriots who fought for the freedom of this country at its birth and gave their lives for freedom," Bergmanis said.

For more on the history of November 11 in Latvia, click HERE.


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