As I've said before on this blog, Lithuania is the little country with two independence days. Well, today is the first of those two holidays, and it's a big one: One hundred years ago today, the Republic of Lithuania got its independence back!
If you remember your Lithuanian history ... Lithuania was the biggest country in Europe circa 1400, but during the 1700s the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was carved up, with Russia ruling the land during the 19th century, to the point where Lithuanian cultural expression was driven underground, to the point where book smugglers helped to keep the language alive.
My grandfather came to America as a young man in 1911 to escape being forced into the Russian army. Seven years later, Lithuania regained its independence, so young men no longer had to worry about the Russian army. By then, though, my grandfather had married my grandmother and they had a baby boy (my father), so they just stayed in Massachusetts for the rest of their lives.
I'm very happy that Lithuania is celebrating its statehood today and I plan to join my friends at the Baltimore Lithuanian Hall in celebration. Valio!
1 day ago