Dear mayors, municipalities, partners and friends —
Throughout this year, the U.S. Embassy has been celebrating 100 years of unbroken diplomatic relations between the United States and Lithuania. I take great pride in the fact that when we say 100 years, we mean it – 100 years of continuous, uninterrupted friendship and shared values, made possible by the declaration by Acting Secretary of State Sumner Welles on July 23, 1940, that we would never recognize the Soviet Union’s deliberate annihilation of your political independence and territorial integrity. For 100 years your flags have flown at the State Department in Washington and our relations have continued to grow, rooted in the shared belief that you were, you are, and you always will be entitled to your freedom and your sovereignty.
Today Lithuania is our valued friend and NATO Ally. We stand in unshakeable solidarity with you in the face of common threats and challenges to our security and shared values. We are committed to our mutual economic prosperity and to rejecting economic coercion. We are committed to the transatlantic relationship and unity with our European allies.
While we will continue to mark this 100-year milestone throughout 2022, the actual date of the establishment of our relations — July 28 — is now upon us. I will celebrate that date in Kaunas, where two American a cappella groups will perform as part of the Kaunas 2022 Summer Stage and I will visit the site of the first American Embassy. (That same week, they will also perform in and celebrate with people of of Visaginas, Šiauliai and Klaipėda.) On August 2, we will join with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to celebrate this anniversary with a public event in Vilnius. But we take pride in noting that we are the U.S. Embassy in Lithuania. With that in mind, we invite our partners and friends across the country to mark this momentous date in your own communities. We welcome your creativity in how to do so, while also offering some simple ideas that we and other partners plan to implement:
- Raising both the U.S. and Lithuanian flags on your flagpoles
- Inviting community members to dress in yellow-green-red and/or red-white-blue for a celebratory photo
- Planting a tree
- Showcasing through photographs the places in your towns/districts that are in essence “American” or have an “American” element
- Celebrating and rekindling your town’s American connections
- Telling stories about your American-Lithuanian or Lithuanian-American families in any visual medium
- Playing a basketball game or a baseball game (both deeply influenced in Lithuania by Lithuanian-Americans Senda Berenson Abbott and Steponas Darius!)
- Singing American songs, reciting American poetry, or visualizing America in various media
If you are planning a commemoration around July 28, please let us know by emailing our Public Affairs team at NevieraV@state.gov and StealySV@state.gov. Please do let us know if you would be interested in having an Embassy representative participate in your event and we will try to send someone. Finally, please share your pictures and videos on social media, using the hashtags #100together and #USinLT and tagging us on various social media platforms. As a special way to thank you and continue the celebration, we will conduct a drawing from all participating communities and organizations that tag us online and work with the winners to plan a special visit later in the year by me and members of the Embassy team. If you have any questions please contact the Embassy using the email addresses above.
I’m excited to be here representing the United States on this special anniversary of our friendship. We hope that many of you, whether in big ways or small, will find your own way to commemorate this important, long-standing friendship.
Robert S. Gilchrist
U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania