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Latvia turns 98

Latvia was in festive mood November 18 with the country celebrating its independence day - 98 years since Latvia staked its claim to existence on the world map.

The first to offer is congratulations was United States Secretary of state John Kerry who released a statement November 17 saying:

"On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I congratulate Latvia on the 98th anniversary of your independence on November 18.

Latvia is a strong partner and ally of the United States.. The United States stands firmly with Latvia and all our NATO Allies to promote peace, freedom, and unity in Europe and around the world... The United States wishes you and your citizens all the best on this important and special day."

President Raimonds Vejonis posted a message on Twitter urging people to "continue together to form our ideal Latvia" where people can "live in peace and plenty".

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics included no fewer than three flags on his celebratory tweet.

Lithuania's Foreign Minister wasted no time in offering his congratulations to his neighbor.

You can follow many other independence day postings by following the #LV98 hashtag.

Possibly the most charming well-wishers were the people of Edinburgh.

As usual the day will be marked by a military parade, a speech by the President, a ceremonial sitting of parliament and numerous commemorations across the country.

In a newer tradition, the Staro Riga illuminations, which began November 17, will continue over the weekend in the capital, Riga.

Many of the events can be watched online via the LSM Re:Play website (livestream may not be viewable in all territories).

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