Friday, March 27, Điauliai - Celebrating the fifth anniversary of Lithuania’s accession to NATO, President of the Republic of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus, President of the Republic of Latvia Valdis Zatlers and President of the Republic of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves visited the Mënaičiai Village, where, in a homestead, the Declaration of Independence was signed by the Council of Lithuania’s Liberation Movement on 16 February 1949.
The Heads of States laid flowers at the memorial to the signatories of the Declaration of Independence.
“Lithuania may be proud of its sons having the resolve and unbreakable will to continue the fight for independence of our State. May our nations and states be built on the truth, sacrifice and remembrance of fighters for freedom,” President Adamkus said.
President Valdas Adamkus bestowed a Cross of Officer of the Order for Merits to Lithuania to the daughter of Stanislovas and Antanina Mikniai, who is the present owner of the homestead, for preserving historical memory and for fostering ethnic consciousness and patriotic sprit. The homestead of the Mikniai family was the venue of the congress of commanders of Lithuanian partisans on 2-22 February 1494; here, too, Lithuania’s Liberation Movements was born.
Here the Presidents met with defenders of Lithuania’s freedom – partisans and guardians of historical memory and the environment, and inspected the exposition of photos and documents.
Later, the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian Presidents participated in the presentation of NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission in the Armed Air Force Aviation Base in Điauliai.
In the territory of NATO Rapid Response Force, the Baltic leaders watched the demonstration of capacities of NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission and the take-off of fighter-jets.