Lithuanian Cultural Garden 80th Anniversary
September 18, 2016
The Lithuanian Cultural Garden is one of the 29 and counting nationality gardens in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. It was dedicated on October 11, 1936 so the 80th anniversary of the Lithuanian Cultural Garden was celebrated on Sunday September 18, 2016.
About 150 people gathered in the lower part (MLK Blvd) of the Garden for the ceremony.
The podium was next to the bust of Jonas Basanavicius.
Violeta Leger, Lithuanian Cultural Garden Board Member, served as Mistress of Ceremonies and welcomed the crowd. She spoke in English and then in Lithuanian.
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Next, Honorary Consul to Lithuania Ingrida Bublys read proclamations from Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and others.
Cleveland Councilman Mike Polensek spoke next. He congratulated the Lithuanian community for their commitment to the city of Cleveland.
Next, United States Senator Rob Portman spoke about how the freedom of the Baltics (and Ukraine and Crimea, etc.) is essential and how the US must support its allies.
Senator Rob Portman
After his speech, Senator Portman presented a US flag that was flown over the US Capitol to the Lithuanian Cultural Garden.
Next, Honorary Consul to Lithuania Ingrida Bublys thanked Senator Rob Portman and read a proclamation from Senator Sherrod Brown.
Latvian Garden representative and Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation board member Anda Cook spoke next.
Next, Estonian Garden representative and Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation board member Erika Puussaar spoke. As a former refugee and immigrant, she spoke of the great respect she has for the national anthem and how others should respect it as well - and never take a knee.
Next, Algis Gudenas, president of the Cleveland Lithuanian Community, spoke at the 80th anniversary celebration of the Lithuanian Cultural Garden in Cleveland.
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*** Rimas Aukstuolis, Pietra Fund board president of the Cleveland Lithuanian Community, spoke next.
Algis Ruksenas, Author and Historian, was the featured speaker and gave a detailed history of the creation of the Lithuanian Garden and the many busts and monuments within.
After the event, Senator Rob Portman was asked about his expertise with the Baltic States, Ukraine and Eastern Europe and his strong relationships with the ethnic groups that follow in the footsteps of the late Senator George Voinovich.
The entertainment part of the anniversary celebration came courtesy of Exultate Choir directed by Rita Kliorys with William Shaffer on keyboard.
William Shaffer and Rita Kliorys
This first song is El Jovar, Jovar!
This is another Lithuanian song sung by the choir.
The third song was Zemej Lietuvos.
The fourth song was Pamario Dainos.
Next was Viena Seima- Viena Tauta.
The crowd rose for the final song, the Lithuanian National Anthem.
Singing the Lithuanian National Anthem
This was followed by a few closing remarks and posing for photos.
Mike Polensek and Ingrida Bublys
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