January  2019
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New York celebrates the 95th Anniversary of Lithuanian Independence (February 16, 1918)

The 2013 celebration of Lithuanian Independence Day (Vasario 16) took place on February 16 and 17, 2013. The Joint Committee, consisting of the 2013 Joint Committee chairman, Laima Sileikyte-Hood (president of the Lithuanian National Foundation), Ramute Zukaite (chairman of the New York District Council of the Lithuanian American Community) and Salvijus Kungys (president of the American Lithuanian Council), organized the two day program, which took place in the Mt. Carmel Parish Auditorium, and Annunciation Church and Hall.

Joint Committee Chairman Laima Šileikyte-Hood, opened the festivities by welcoming the guests and introducing Lithuanian Consul General Valdemaras Sarapinas. Consul General Sarapinas emphasized the importance of Lithuania’s February 16 Declaration of Independence, which has led to the development of the free and independent Lithuanian nation of today. “We are proud not only of our nation’s distinguished past, but also of our successful current progress. We are fifth in the world in terms of growth of foreign investment, we have a strong and modern internet infrastructure, and we have a growing tourist trade … So we are in the process of writing a proud new chapter in the history of Lithuania that reflects the growth of a strong, modern nation,” stated Consul General Sarapinas.

Lithuanian American Community National Council President Sigita Šimkuvienė-Rosen was invited to the stage to present awards to former Brooklyn/Queens Chapter President (and current Vice President) Vida Jankauskas, current Chapter President Rasa Savičiūtė-Sprindys, Manhattan/Bronx/Staten Island Chapter Board member Gintare Bukauskas, and Laima Šileikyte-Hood, President of the Executive Committee of the Lithuanian American Foundation for their outstanding contributions to the Lithuanian Community.

After the “Official” part of the program the Central and Southern New Jersey Dance Group, “Viesulas” (“Whirlwind”) performed several colorful folk dances, to much applause. After intermission, saxophonist and composer, Kęstutis Vaiginis, from Vilnius, and his New York band, New York Jazz Stars (keyboardist David Berkman, bassist Linda Oh, and drummer, Ferit Odman) presented a program of his own compositions. Kęstutis, who is very popular in Lithuania as a jazz musician, has performed all over Europe, in China, Malaysia, Brazil, New York, and in other parts of the United States.

Press here or on the picture below to access the accompanying photomontage.

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