Due to the pandemic, commemoration of Freedom Defenders’ Day in Canada has once again taken place in the open air or virtually, in small groups and individually. The event organized in Toronto, which we posted about on Tuesday, caught the attention of the Canadian press – see thestar.com
Lithuanian Canadians in British Columbia also took part in the traditional run/walk and climbed 10 kilometres up Mount Seymour to raise Lithuanian flags on Pump Peak. A small field of forget-me-nots, the now-traditional symbol of Freedom Defenders’ Day, was planted on the mountain as well. A group at Pacific Park in Vancouver walked 5 km and made sure the forget-me-nots blossomed there too, reported Rūta Vrubliauskaitė-Tryon of Vancouver.
As a gesture of solidarity, many Lithuanians lit a candles in their window for ten minutes on January 13th in memory of those who died that night, 31 years ago.
The Lithuanian Embassy invited Lithuanians to participate in the commemorative 9-kilometre run – the “Road of Life and Death” in Ottawa on January 8. At the beginning of the event, Ambassador Darius Skusevičius noted that it is an honour to show respect for those who died or were injured in 1991 by participating in the run in Canada, the country which was the first G7 nation to resume diplomatic ties with independent Lithuania. Canadian Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole also addressed runners, who included Lithuanian community and organization members, as well as US, Polish, Swedish and European Union delegation representatives, over 20 participants in all.
The date of the run coincided with the second anniversary of Ukrainian international flight PS572 from Teheran being shot down, and the participants remembered its 176 victims with a moment of silence. In Canada, January 8 is the national day of remembrance for victims of airline tragedies.
In Lithuania, the run has been organized every year since 1992, and in recent years have taken place in other countries as well, and 2022 is its third year Ottawa.