Bloody Sunday in Lithuania, 13 January, 1991

I was born in captivity. Well, I didn’t know or understand that until I was a teenager. Lithuania was occupied by the USSR and lost its independence in June 1940 until March 11, 1990 when The Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania was signed stating that Lithuania is restoring it’s independency based on the Act of Independence of Lithuania  proclaimed on February 16, 1918. The USSR didn’t “like” the Act of Re-Establishment and  on January 13, 1991 Soviet forces stormed the Parliament building in Vilnius along with the Vilnius TV Tower. Unarmed civilian Lithuanians confronted Soviet soldiers. Fourteen people were killed and seven hundred injured in what became known as January Events, or Bloody Sunday. I was 8 by then. I lived 6 km away from the TV Tower and couldn’t understand what’s going on but the silence and tension at home was so clear that I knew something was wrong. I didn’t have to go to school and I felt this was because my parents were afraid of my safety. They didn’t let me out for a play for a few days. The radio was the only thing that was on almost all the time…everybody waited.. for the news. Well not everybody actually, my husband was 18 then and he was there with hundreds of other young people.  Following the 13th of January, large crowds (20,000 during the night, more than 50,000 in the morning) of independence supporters gathered around the Supreme Council building. People started building anti-tank barricades and setting up defenses inside surrounding buildings. Provisional chapels were set up inside and outside the Supreme Council building. Members of the crowd prayed, sang and shouted pro-independence slogans. Despite columns of military trucks, BMPs and tanks moving into the vicinity of the Supreme Council, Soviet military forces retreated instead of attacking. 

I’m writing this post maybe because of that being an emigrant today I feel more love to my roots than ever or maybe because of that I’m getting old and sentimental, or maybe I want to tell others more about Lithuania but I hope to live in a free country, to raise my children and let them know that freedom was not always a natural thing maybe because of that we, including myself, are not so open to other nations and sometimes even to each other… Anyway some of us are really patriotic and show it without fear. I don’t know what about the others but we love that place in London, a hill with Lithuanian “flags” on it. We call it a “Lithuanian hill” and just simply go there for a walk sometimes where we can sit and think for a while where we came from…IMG_6027 IMG_6041 IMG_6043 IMG_6071

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