13 January - Defenders of Freedom Day

About the meaning

I wanted to take part in a competition for the longest word with different letters. I tried to come up with at least one, so I stayed looking at one dot for a good three minutes. I didn't. But others came up with it, even made it up, I would say.

I don't know yet which one won, which one was the longest. I found INAUDIBLE. 16 letters and no repeats. I picked it up on the computer keyboard, wondering if I would definitely hit the same key again. And so it happened that I glanced at the calendar - 2022-01-13. In one sentence, that word and that date look symbolic. And meaningful.

On the eve of January 13, many of us remember how thousands of people bravely stood up to defend Lithuania's restored independence in the face of Soviet military aggression. We talk to children about the events of that time, light candles of freedom and remembrance, and remember the defenders who died for Lithuania's freedom.

A day of loss, pain and fear, and at the same time of recovery, courage and pride. For me, in fact, January 13th is the true Independence Day. Because that is when people stood up for freedom against brutal force. Maybe not fully understanding what they were doing, but knowing clearly and brightly that it was the right thing to do.

I was a child, I don't remember anything. Only my dad told me more than once and shared this thought: when you are in the middle of an event, you can't yet grasp the full significance of it, the scale of it, the danger, the consequences... You go and do things with that sense of justice. When you look back on that event years later, you can see how big it was, how important, how vital. And only after a while does this gigantic sense of pride come. For all of us.

It's like looking at a mountain. If you look very closely, it would be rocks, earth, plants, bugs. And if you go much further back, there's all the grandeur.

13 January 1991 will always be with us as the day of Lithuania's freedom - the most important victory of our lives for all of us.

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