On 21 October, on the Cathedral Square in Vilnius, which reminds of the nation’s struggle for freedom, the cadets of the first year of the General Jonas Žemaitis Lithuanian Military Academy took an oath to the state of Lithuania to spare no effort and life defending the country’s freedom and independence. This is a way to continue the traditions of interwar Lithuania, when volunteers and soldiers, and later partisans, repeated by free will practically the same words of oath to their country.
This year, 82 boys and girls are starting their studies at the Military Academy. A large part of them have already taken the soldier’s oath before, while serving in the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
The grand ceremony was attended by the Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas, the Training and Doctrine Commandant, Brigadier General Alvydas Šiuparis, representing the Chief of Defence of the Republic of Lithuania, the leadership of the Military Academy, military forces and units, representatives of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union and General Povilas Plechavičius Cadet Lyceum, teachers of the Academy, relatives of newly sworn cadets and other guests.
The cadets were given symbolic shoulder badges, reminding of the historical contribution of one of the most prominent commanders and leaders of the occupation resistance – General Jonas Žemaitis-Vytautas. This tradition was taken over from the Military School that operated during the interwar period, whose students wore shoulder badges with the initials of the then patron of the school, the President of Lithuania, Antanas Smetona.
Continuing the tradition, the right to kiss the flag of the Academy on behalf of all the cadets taking the oath was given to Lukas Lekavičius, who was recognised as the cadet who completed the Cadet Basic Military Course with the highest achievements. On behalf of the community of the Academy, he was presented with a personalised memorial gift – a dagger.
After the solemn swearing-in ceremony, parents and relatives of the cadets were invited to the Academy campus to talk with the management and learn more about the studies at this higher education institution. Those interested were given the opportunity to visit the Cadet Battalion, auditoriums and other facilities where the Academy’s students will live and study for four years.
The Military Academy traditionally started the academic year by welcoming a large group of riflemen and cadets of General Povilas Plechavičius Lyceum, who consistently strive to become Lithuanian officers, learning about the military order, high standards of conduct and requirements to carry out assigned tasks precisely. This way, by educating future officers who intend to study at the Military Academy, the confidence in the Lithuanian Armed Forces is strengthened.
The freshmen have already completed the seven-week Cadet Basic Military Course. During this course, they acquired the basics of standard military training, which they will continue developing during their studies at the Military Academy. At the Academy, they will also study according to university bachelor study programmes, which in their uniqueness and quality compete with the study programmes of other Lithuanian universities or even surpass them.
The Lithuanian Military Academy, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is the only higher education institution in Lithuania that provides university and military education. It trains military leaders who are ready to head the units of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in times of war and peace. The high evaluation of this profession shows the popularity of the Lithuanian Military Academy and the desire of young people to contribute to the strengthening of the country’s security.
Photos by Eimantas Genys