“I remember that day well. I think this day is deeply stuck in the memory of those who stood hand in hand on that road. Back then, I lived in Panevėžys after returning from the camps in Siberia. Then I was in the Sąjūdis security group and worked on the Baltic road as a supporter of the Panevėžys militia. We watched the order while driving “Volga” from Panevėžys to Vilnius. The feeling was indescribable, fantastic, people’s optimism made me happy, there were no misunderstandings. After the camp bans, it was even strange for me that people were so free and independent,” Gerimantas shared his memories. G. Kaklauskas was silent for a second when asked if he had met anykštenas on the Baltic road.
“I got to know Anykštėnai much later. At that time, I knew only one elder – my wife. We got married with her in Buryatia in 1987. And our son was born in Buratia, so sometimes we jokingly called him a Buryat…”, said Gerimantas.
The Baltic Road campaign is one of the most important historical events in the history of the Baltic States. The Baltic Way is the path of non-violent resistance in the fight for the Independence of our countries.
The memorable year of 1989 On August 23, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the criminal Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its secret protocols, the League of Lithuanian Reorganization, the People’s Fronts of Estonia and Latvia organized a 620 km long living chain, created by the nations of the three Baltic States, connecting Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn – from Gediminas Castle to Long Herman’s Tower in Tallinn, held a symbolic referendum and paved the way to Independence with the decision of each and every 2 million people joining hands.
It is not known exactly how many people participated in the Baltic Way. Different sources provide different information. According to the Reuters news agency, the action brought together 700,000 people in Estonia, 500,000 in Latvia and 1,000,000 in Lithuania.
The Baltic Way was organized by the Lithuanian Reorganization Movement, the People’s Fronts of Estonia and Latvia. At one time, the event was included in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest human chain (the distance from Vilnius to Tallinn via Valmiera and Viljandis is about 670 km). The road went along the route Vilnius-Ukmergė-Panevėžys-Pasvalys-Bauskė-Riga-Cėsys-Valmiera-Rūjiena-Viljandis-Tiūri-Rapala-Talins.