"2018 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Latvian state. Although the country is still young, this anniversary is a testament to the fact that we are a strong nation. Independence was a hard-fought and selfless struggle, and the 20th century has brought many tragic moments. However, thanks to Latvian fortitude and faith, we are now able to live in a free land," Vejonis told compatriots in Chicago during a US visit that also saw him addressing the United Nations.
The president said he hoped that the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the state would be another opportunity for everyone to prove that they too are part of the country and to be united in celebration, the presidential press service reported.
During his meetings with the Latvian diaspora in Chicago, Kalamazoo and New York, the President gave out a special books in which people can suggest ideas for the future of Latvia.
In Chicago he also gave an award to local Latvian Society member Janis Vilciņš recognizing his role in maintaining and promoting Latvian culture and history.
Another award recipient was Colonel James Colonel James Andrew Roberts of the Michigan National Guard who was recognized for playing "a major role in the successful collaboration of the US Michigan National Guard and the Latvian National Armed Forces to improve the development of the Latvian armed forces' combat capabilities and significantly increasing the international experience of Latvian soldiers."