We owe gratitude to no one else but ourselves for the restoration of Latvia’s independence: it was our fight and our victory. The 1991 August events for Latvians, Estonians, and Lithuanians were a fight for their freedom, democracy, and independent state, as well as for values, said Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Saeima, on Sunday, 21 August, at the ceremonial event at the Monument of Freedom, as she addressed the audience on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the de facto restoration of the statehood of Latvia.
“We ourselves are the source of our pride. Today I most sincerely thank everyone who did not quail 25 years ago. Those three already remote August days were a serious test of conscience, courage, and confidence. What to do in a moment crucial for one’s country – to stand up for what one values and cherishes, or to flee from a preeminent force? An overwhelming majority passed this test and can now remember it with pride,” stressed Speaker Mūrniece.
As she congratulated the nation on the anniversary of the restoration of independence, Ināra Mūrniece said that “today we praise the victory of our nation’s wisdom, courage, and foresight. We celebrate the victory we gained with our bare hands a quarter of a century ago. The rule of law and parliamentarism were our sword, and non-violent resistance was our shield”.
The Speaker of the Saeima emphasised that the Baltic perseverance, tenacity, and thirst for freedom left no one indifferent. The January events had made the West change its stance. The first ones who rushed to our support were our closest friends and neighbours. Those were the Nordic countries, and their speakers of parliament stand by our side at the Monument of Freedom today as well.
We greatly appreciate our friends, and Latvia has many of them around the world, pointed out Mūrniece, stressing that on this symbolic day for our state, we have gathered here today with our brotherly nations, Lithuanians and Estonians, with representatives from the Nordic countries, as well as with our strategic partners from the United States. We are joined in our celebration by the European Union and NATO member states, including Canada, as well as representatives from Ukraine and other Eastern Partnership countries.
In her ceremonial address, Speaker Mūrniece also called on each compatriot to ask themselves every day: what can we do for our own good, for our future, and for the sake of Latvia? Our strength lies in our courage, education, and patriotism, and our utmost task is to build a Latvia where people want to return, said Ināra Mūrniece.
“The time of awaiting Latvia’s centennial should mark a new peak in our country's history – with a stronger sense of statehood and awareness of one’s roots, more solid economy, greater social security,” said the Speaker, stressing that together we will achieve it.
Speaker Mūrniece also stressed the importance of strengthening family, its value and role in society, as she reminded the audience that today we are raising our future leaders. Our mission today is to give children the best we can, namely, values as roots and opportunities as wings.
On 21 August 1991, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia adopted the Constitutional Law on the Statehood of the Republic of Latvia, thus restoring the de facto independence of the country and allowing it to return to the global arena as a full-fledged member of the international community.
The Law restored into force the Constitution of 1922 which upheld the values of Western democracy and the rule of law. Upon the adoption of the Constitutional Law, the laws of the USSR lost their legal force in the territory of Latvia and the process of international recognition of Latvia’s de facto independence began.
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Saeima Press Service