Friday, 05 April 2013 14:48

Preserving memories of the Lithuanian liberation movement

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Are you wondering if you should keep those old Lithuania related pins, stickers, pictures, letters, banners or throw them away?

Keep them! They tell the history and help remembering emotions behind historical events. They bring memories alive. Maybe it does not seem so important now, but time flies by very fast…

Having this in mind, as part of the build-up to the 23rd anniversary of the re-establishment of the State of Lithuania, LTUworld invited its friends and followers to post Singing Revolution memorabilia on Facebook and Twitter.
We asked you to post or tweet your photographs, letters, postcards, banners, old newspaper articles, diaries and any other keepsakes belonging to you, your family and friends.

We also requested that you would write something in English explaining the provenance and context of your items.

We were especially keen to collect images of less known memorabilia from Lithuanian communities in other countries that they used during demonstrations, political rallies and community gatherings.

It is vital that we not only preserve the precious documents and other memorabilia for the future generations in remembrance of our Singing Revolution and its effect on people's lives, but also spread these iconic images as widely as possible using social media means --a tool which didn't exist back then.

Below are the most interesting images collected during our campaign:

1.    Images of T-shirts worn by Lithuanian-Americans in 90's.

T shirtT shirt

2.    The iconic logo of “Sajūdis” with rays spiraling out of the name and a Gediminaičių stulpai in a sun. This symbol became known in 1988-1990 as the ultimate representation of freedom, hope and limitless possibility of Lithuanian unity. The image of this memorabilia – a pin – came from Jonas in Boston, who got it from visiting Lithuanian relatives back in 90s.

Sajudis pnSajudis pn 

3.    On the day when Estonia celebrated its 95th anniversary of Independence, we posted the image of a political banner that Baltic American people used jointly in the U.S. at the beginning of 1990s to demand from the U.S. administration and Congress an immediate recognition of independences of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

A posterA poster


4.    The Power of Political Cartoons and the Baltic Liberation, 1989-1991.When it comes to politics and the media, there are many ways to report news, tell stories and share opinions. During the Baltic liberation in 1989-1991, political cartoons was quit a popular way used in the Western press to grab attention of readers and to put a quality thought into political issues or events that had been occurring in the Baltics. Political cartoons, used in those years, were for the most part composed of two elements: caricature, which parodied the individual, and allusion, which created the situation or context into which the individual was placed. A political cartoon, featured in this post, characterizes this especially well. "Mr. Bush, this is Vytautas Landsbergis [calling], in Vilnius. Guess what?" Remember, this was the time when American troops were on march to liberate Kuwait (and oil, sic!) from Iraq's aggretion.

A political cartoonA political cartoon


5.  How often is Lithuania really able to hit headlines of major international publications? Not often. But it did on numerous occassions in 1989-1991, as seen in this image bellow. This is a proof that Lithuania's struggle had international significance as well as consequances to a political map of Europe.

US media front pagesUS media front pages


6.    Thanks to Julie Minkunas Banionis, we also shared with our followers quite historical pictures of the Lithuanian national ensemble “M.K.Čiurlionis” from Cleveland, visiting Lithuania for this first time in history in September 1990. As Julija Banionis (pictured) commented it “Čiurlioniečiai {members of the ensemble) welcomed the restoration of the Republic of Lithuania with carols and joyful tears”.


7.    Other Lithuanian-Americans also shared their memories and emotions with us, telling what did it feel to be finally able to visit Lithuania in 1990 after long years of occupation.



8. Political rally pictures.


political rally


After these two pictures were posted on Facebook, we received a note from Tony Mazeika telling a story behind them. According to Mazeika, these pictured were taken at the political rally on November 13, 1965 in New York.  The rally was organized at Madison Square Garden in New York, and was attended by almost 14,000 Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians from cities of New York, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago and others. The rally featured speakers from the US Congress supporting restoration of independence of the Baltic states and demanding that the Soviet Union withdraw occupation. The rally then continued as an organized march to the United Nations on the East side of Manhattan. Major speeches were made at the entrance to the UN. News and television reports appeared Saturday and Sunday. A full page add was published in the New York Times (US and Paris editions), endorsed by more than 120 prominent political figures from the US and Europe. After the event Baltic students organized an activist organization called Baltic Appeal to the United Nations. It turns out this was the largest Baltic political rally and march ever organized in New York City.


9.    Surprisingly, the biggest amount of “Likes”, shares, comments and re-tweets was received from this poster that we posted on March 11th – the Day of Re-establishment of the Independence of Lithuania. It quite graphically described why Lithuania could not wait to be free, and why Independent Lithuania had to be recognized immediately.



Thanks to all of you who contributed to this initiative and shared you memories with others. And please keep in mind that unprotected memorabilia will deteriorate quickly without proper preservation. Take action now.

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