On March 29 Lithuania celebrates its first decade in NATO. On Saturday at noon prompt a celebratory ceremony of hoisting Lithuanian and NATO flags will take place in Simonas Daukantas Square, the Honour Guard Company will present a demonstration programme, gun salute will be fired, and U.S. Air Contingent currently deployed on NATO’s Air Policing mission in the Baltic States will salute Lithuania by a flyover.
President of the Republic of Lithuania and Commander-in-Chief of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Dalia Grybauskaitė, Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas and Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius will deliver congratulatory addresses to the nation.
“The Lithuanian Armed Forces have become professional, reliable and prepared for national defence in its own right and alongside NATO allies better than ever before. Membership of the strongest defence alliance is one of the greatest Lithuania’s political achievements that we can justly be proud of,” National Defence Minister J.Olekas says congratulating the nation on this important commemoration.
The ceremony will also be attended by members of the Parliament and the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, Ambassadors of NATO and EU member states in Lithuania, Defence Attachés, and representatives of the Ministry of National Defence and the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
Lithuania became a member of the world’s strongest defence alliance when ratification documents of the North Atlantic Treaty were deposited in Washington (U.S.A.) on 29 March 2004. NATO membership is the foundation of Lithuania’s security policy. As a NATO member we are a part of a collective security system where allied solidarity, collective defence guarantees and commitments to one another are the underlying principle.
From the very first day of NATO membership NATO allies began protecting the airspace of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia by deploying their military air assets and personnel on NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission. Over the decade of membership as many as 14 NATO member states have rotated their air contingents 34 times to ensure that the Baltic airspace in protected.
Our allies respond immediately to the changes in security situation. The United States of America have sent additional 6 fighter jets to augment the Baltic Air Policing mission currently conducted by a U.S. Air Contingent, while Denmark, the United Kingdom and France have expressed an intent to do so in the future. Lithuania is ready to render all the necessary Host Nation Support for incoming forces in the event of necessity.
Video presentation: „Lithuania – 10 years in NATO“ (by SGT SPC Lukas Kalvaitis )