The head of the Ministry of National Defence paid tribute to the heroes of the January Uprising
- Today we pay tribute to our common heroes, extraordinary people who, with arms in hand, realizing that the opponent is much stronger, stood up to fight for the freedom of our homeland. But today's celebrations are also important for our future, for the future of relations between our countries - said Mariusz Błaszczak, the Minister of National Defence in Vilnius.
The head of the Ministry of National Defence in a funeral procession on the streets of Vilnius.
On Friday, November 22 this year, the head of the Ministry of National Defence took part in the burial ceremony of the ashes of Zygmunt Sierakowski and Konstanty Kalinowski, the leaders of the January Uprising and a dozen of its participants executed in Vilnius in the years 1863-64.
The head of the Ministry of National Defence pointed out that the Friday celebrations in Vilnius and the participation of the presidents of Poland and Lithuania were a good farewell to the heroes of the January Uprising and after over 150 years of giving them due honor.
- Today we met to commemorate the participants of the January Uprising. But today we also demonstrate that, just as they used to be, today we are united by the same values and aspirations - said President Andrzej Duda during the funeral ceremony.
Burial ceremonies with the participation of the highest state authorities of Poland and Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus began a mass at the Archcathedral Basilica. After the service, the funeral procession crossed the streets of Vilnius, stopping at the “Ostra Brama” gate. The last farewell was held at the Rossa Cemetery. In the cemetery chapel on Rossa, which will henceforth become the mausoleum of the January Insurgents, along with the leaders of the uprising Zygmunt Sierakowski and Konstanty Kalinowski, 18 insurgents were buried.
During the visit to Vilnius, a bilateral meeting of Mariusz Blaszczak, the Minister of National Defence with Raimundas Karoblis, the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Lithuania took place.
As Minister Mariusz Błaszczak pointed out, Polish-Lithuanian military cooperation is very good and it is the source of our security. - Thanks to the fact that we support each other, we cooperate every day, we can be safer. (...) We are ready to ensure security on NATO's eastern flank - said the head of the Ministry of National Defence.
The minister listed among the most important projects the participation of the Lithuanian armed forces in the Multinational Command in Elbląg, to which the Lithuanian brigade will soon be affiliated, and in which the position of the Chief of Staff will be taken by a Lithuanian officer.
The head of the Ministry of National Defence also reminded that Polish-Lithuanian cooperation is being implemented, among others through the Baltic Air Policing mission, exchange of experience between territorial defence forces and the work of the Defence Council. - In January 2020 in Vilnius I will meet with Minister Raimundas Karoblis, with whom I will discuss the details of cooperation in subsequent projects, including joint military exercises - said Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.
The head of the Ministry of National Defence also laid flowers at the monument "Mother and Heart of the Son" at the Rossa Cemetery.
In 1863-1864, on the Łukiski Square in Vilnius, the tsarist army executed 21 leaders and participants of the January Uprising. They was buried secretly from family and loved ones. In 2017, during the archaeological research on Mount Gediminas, the burials of four people were accidentally discovered. Genetic research confirmed the identity of the heroes of the January Uprising. After more than 150 years, leaders and high representatives of free and independent nations of Central and Eastern Europe, honored the joint heroes who died in the fight for freedom and independence.