A new coin marks the centenary of Lithuania’s famous monument
Many Lithuanians in the diaspora are familiar with the iconic monument to those who have fallen for the freedom of Lithuania. It is located in the garden of the the Vytautas Magnus Military Museum in Kaunas. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the unveiling of this structure on October 16, 1921. It is a historical site, beside which are the grave of the Unkown Soldier and the Eternal Light.
100 years ago, the unveiling was witnessed by President Aleksandras Stulginskis, Prime Minister Kazys Grinius, and visiting dignitaries. The monument was blessed by the famous priest and poet, Jonas Mačiulis-Maironis. The stones used to build the monument were collected from various locations in Lithuania where battles for freedom had taken place.
The 6.5 metre high monument was designed by architect V. Dubeneckis and sculptor J. Zikaras.
In 1923, an altar was built beside the monument, and inscribed with the Latin words “Redde, quod debes” (Lith. Grąžink, ką privalai), or “Give back what you should”, referring to every citizen’s duty to contribute to the welfare of his or her country.
An unknown soldier, whose remains were brought back from a battle against the Bolsheviks in Latvia, was buried beside the monument in 1934.
This year, for the monument’s centenary, the firm Monetų namai has released a special coin engraved with an image of the monument. Its value is five dollars, with a mintage of 500 units; it is 18 mm in diameter, and weighs 1.2 grams.
More about the monument’s history:
During the second Soviet occupation, at the end of 1949, an order was issued to destroy the monument. The stonework was torn down and discarded, some of the stones were used for construction in the Aleksotas district. Some of the crosses were saved at the M. K. Čiurlionis Museum, others were burned. Once the independence movement began, steps were taken to renew the garden and the monument itself. Once again, stones were collected from battlefields in Lithuania.
The company “Monetų namai“ represents the foremost coin producers in the world and is the official distributor of collectible coins and medals in Lithuania.
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