Answering to the invitation of President of France Emmanuel Macron, the President of Latvia attended the commemorative ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War at the Arch of Triumph and participated in the opening of the Paris Peace Forum.
The President of Latvia indicated that on November 11, Latvia marks the Lāčplēsis Day in honour of the victory won by the heroes of the Latvian War of Independence at the Daugava River in 1919. Worldwide, this date binds to another event a year before, the end of the First World War. Its name has become customary and self-evident, but we must remember that such a terrible war had not yet occurred in the history of humankind. It was the first war whose influence changed the entire world.
“During the First World War, half a million people flew and 100,000 people died in Latvia. That was the price we had paid during the war for our ability to fight for our freedom on the ruins of the old great powers,” emphasises Raimonds Vējonis.
The President of Latvia noted that when choosing the side of the Entente countries courageously at the end of the war, Latvia gained such invaluable allies as France, England, Poland, and Estonia. With their support, Latvia won victory in the Latvian War of Independence.
“The relationships of understanding and cooperation with those countries are as old as our independence. They have stood up for Latvia both then and now. When commemorating the end of the First World War together with our allies during these days in Paris, we are honouring the values we still share and are ready to stand up for every day,” stated the President of Latvia.
At the end of the visit, Raimonds Vējonis presented the poem “Eternity Affected” by Latvian Poet Aleksandrs Čaks translated into English to the Paris Peace Library. “The outstanding creation of Aleksandrs Čaks is an eternal monument to Latvian Riflemen who inspired the people to believe in their power and claim their rights,” said Raimonds Vējonis.
The President of Latvia also presented the book “Latvia under the Soviet Union and National Socialist Germany in 1940-1991” by the Museum of Occupation of Latvia in French to the Peace Library.