Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way, the flags of the three Baltic States, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, are flying over the Holy Spirit Tower of Riga Castle. President of Latvia Egils Levits, leader of the Tautas Fronte of Latvia Dainis Īvāns, organiser of the Baltic Way campaign Sandra Kalniete, and three children from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia representing the younger generation of the Baltic States symbolically attended the solemn event.
Address by President of Latvia Egils Levits:
A new morning has come in a free, independent, and democratic Latvia! It was a dream on 23 August 1989 of such a morning in such a free Latvia at our home in Europe.
The Iron Curtain collapsed. People on the Baltic Way melted the totalitarian regime in their hands. The peoples of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, changed the global political order with their courage, the power of their hearts and thoughts. Nothing was as it had been before. Hope emerged, the Soviet regime collapsed, and the Berlin Wall collapsed.
Thanks to Dainis Īvāns! Thank you, Sandra Kalniete! Thanks to all the activists of the Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian popular movements, and above all, thanks to everyone who stood on the Baltic Way then and to those who carry on the idea nowadays.
Today, the young generation has joined us. They go into the world with their dreams and their own views of the future. Let the power that guided the Baltic Way help achieving the targets of our young Balts!
May the flags of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia fly high here and throughout the Baltics forever!
Address by Leader of the Tautas Fronte of Latvia Dainis Īvāns:
The Latvian red-white-red flag was hoisted here on 11 November 1988, and it was flying under siege of an incredible number of Soviet army garrisons. It symbolised our fight for freedom against a huge superiority.
When preparing for the Baltic Way on 23 August 1989, no mast was here to fly flags, and we decided that the national flags of Estonia and Lithuania should also be hoisted here. When seeing them, we realised that we were a formidable force, that we had reliable allies, that we were worth all together, and that we would succeed.
Of course, those 30 years since the Baltic Way have been thorny, but did we hope that they would not be like that? At the same time, there was an abyss separating us from the nightmare we lived in. Therefore, let us be happy and appreciate that the unity of the Baltic States still exists and that we are free.
Address by the organiser of the Baltic Way campaign Sandra Kalniete:
23 August 1989 was a very difficult day because radio coordination was banned in Latvia in the morning, and we no longer had a review of whether the Baltic Way would succeed. It was taking its shape, and it was complete for 670 kilometres without interruptions.
Today we are celebrating those 30 years joyfully. Yet, I watched a recording of the Vremya program from 19 August 1991 a few days ago. On this day of joy, I think we also must remember that incredibly formidable counter-force against which the Baltic people opposed. We, especially younger people, are not aware of this, and I must say that I am beginning to forget what this counter-force was because 30 years of freedom have given us this sense of freedom, a sense of strength.
The one hundred first year of our country is the year of Latvia’s heroism, and we have earned it during hundred years. I congratulate you on this holiday!
Message from Ēvalds Valševskis, grandson of Dainis Īvāns:
On the Baltic Way, the Balts joined their hands for the freedom of Baltic States. My grandfather called for it.
Message from Ugnė Mikaite, a Lithuanian school student:
For me, the Baltic Way is an example of how we share our intention to live in free and peaceful countries, regardless of our language, religion, education, and age.
Message from Tomass Alberts Bezdelīga, an Estonian School student:
I am very proud that my whole family took part in the Baltic Way, and the Baltic States became free. I associate the unity of the Baltic States with our recognition in the world because we are perceived as a whole.
On August 23, while the flags of the three Baltic States are flying over the Holy Spirit Tower of Riga Castle, the standard of the President of Latvia flies on the mast at the Riga Castle Square.