Visiems draugams lietuviams! (To all Lithuanian friends!)
Warm congratulations on the 100th anniversary of the restoration of Lithuanian statehood! Lithuanians have inspired the world with their remarkable struggle to secure their independence, overcoming oppression with an extraordinary commitment to their history, their culture and their values. It is those traits which make America proud to call Lithuanians friends and allies in our common enterprise to protect freedom everywhere it is at risk.
I am proud to have served as America’s Ambassador to Vilnius from 2003-2006 during a critical time in Lithuania’s modern history as a newly-independent democracy after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was during this time in 2004 that Lithuania joined the EU and NATO, when I was proud to speak at a joint session of the Seimas with the government and President Adamkus celebrating this momentous event. And it was during this time that brave Lithuanian soldiers demonstrated their solid reliability as American allies by opening a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Chagcharan in Afghanistan, which I was thrilled to visit with President Adamkus in 2005:
During this time, we also hosted many important visitors to strengthen the U.S. relationship with Lithuania, including Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:
My family and I richly enjoyed living in beautiful Vilnius, and traveling throughout the country, helping out on farms:
Riding old bicycles in Šiauliai:
And visiting beautiful, historic sites like Trakai
or Kryžių kalnas:
My family and I send our warmest thanks to all our Lithuanian friends for letting us spend so many happy years with you in your beautiful country, and for teaching us about the eternal values of freedom, independence and friendship. May Lithuania prosper as a proud, safe, and free democracy forever!
Gyvuok laisva Lietuva! (Long live, free Lithuania!)
Stephen D. Mull
Ambassador of the USA to Lithuania