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Lithuania will celebrate the country's accession to NATO


On Monday, 29 March Lithuania will become a full-fledged member of NATO after the ratification documents of the North Atlantic Treaty conforming the acceptance of Lithuania and other six invited countries have been deposited at the US Department of State in Washington, D.C. On Friday, 2 April flags of the new NATO member states -- Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania -- will be raised at the NATO headquarters in Brussels. To mark Lithuania's accession to NATO, a variety of events and celebrations will be held throughout Lithuania, while in the capital city of Vilnius the festivities will start already on 29 March after Lithuania becomes de jure part of the Alliance.


In the evening of Monday, 29 March, at 1930 hrs, a festive event, entitled "Lithuania Sings to Peace" will start on the square at the building of the Ministry on National Defence (Totorių 25/3). Famous Lithuanian artists, rock and jazz musicians, brass orchestras will be there to give a performance.


Those who will come to the event will be treated to military porridge and a cup of tea. During the event, a display of armoured personnel carriers, up-to-date artillery guns and fire control centre will be held on the square in front of the building of the Ministry. Organisers of the event have also prepared other items that will come out as surprises.


Later on 2 April, between 1045-1115 hrs, at the same time when the flags of the new NATO member states will be raised at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Lithuanian flags will also be solemnly raised in all cities and towns of Lithuania. The official ceremonies will be followed by festive events, which are being organised by the Lithuanian Armed Forces in close co-operation with local municipal authorities, will start.


On 2 April open days will be arranged in all units of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. In some cities and towns, for instance, in Kaunas, Klaipėda and Panevėžys, residents will be invited to come to the downtown to familiarise with military life.


After the official flag raising ceremony in Vilnius on Friday, 2 April, at 1115 hrs, for the first time in the history of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, a military technical equipment parade will be held on Gediminas Avenue. During the parade, the Algirdas Battalion, the first Lithuanian military unit, trained for involvement in a full spectrum of military operations alongside NATO forces outside the territory of Lithuania, will be presented to the general society. The military column will move along the Gediminas Avenue from Nepriklausomybės (Independence) Square down to the Vilnius Street, from where it will turn to the right side of the Neris River embankment.


In the evening, at 2100 hrs, a festive concert to celebrate Lithuania's accession to NATO will be held on Katedros (Cathedral) Square. A huge 200 square-meter screen will be mounted near the Cathedral-Basilica. On the stage - with live performance of Ravelli's Bolero - in the screen you will be able to watch Lithuania's road to NATO, i.e. history of the state from the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania under the reign of Vytautas the Magnum up to the present day. The performance will be given by the Brass Orchestra of the Guard of Honour Company of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and students of the Balys Dvarionas School of Music. Visitors to the concert will also be congratulated by well-known Lithuanian pop musicians. Spectacular display of fireworks will end the event. It will be for the first time that the fireworks will simultaneously work from the three sides - the Gediminas monument (Grand Duke of Lithuania and the Vilnius founder); the Gediminas's Castle and the Cathedral.

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