“Today, we stand here to honour the heroism and sacrifice of our predecessors,” said the Polish President Andrzej Duda on Friday in Vilnius during the burial ceremonies for 20 January Uprising insurgents.
Addressing the gathered guests, President Duda stressed the utmost importance of the fact that Poles, Lithuanians, Belarusians, Latvians and Ukrainians stood together on that day.
“We meet here as free people and representatives of free nations that are hosts in our own sovereign countries in our independent homelands. What our ancestors and predecessors dreamt about (...), for what they sacrificed their lives, is what we have achieved in modern days,” he said.
“The uprising of 1863 was directed against the Empire of the Tsars that destroyed our common state and enslaved our nations,” President Duda said, adding that the January Uprising was “the last chord in this beautiful symphony of various cultures, languages and denominations that used to resound in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.”
The January Uprising was an insurrection in the former territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth that found itself partitioned by Russia in 1772, 1793 and disappeared from the map of Europe in 1795. The uprising began on January 22, 1863, with the goal of restoring the commonwealth, and continued until the last insurgents were captured by Russian forces in 1864.
Click here to watch the full speech of President Duda.