Today, on 25 January 2021, General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania (MAL) marks a significant date in the history of the Lithuanian officer training – the 102nd anniversary of the establishment of the Military School. It was opened on 25 January 1919 in Kaunas at the height of the struggle for independence of Lithuania. As the Military School, the MAL trains officers for the Lithuanian Armed Forces, provides them with professional development and carries out the studies and scientific researches on military history.
“In the interwar period, we trained many famous officers who, during difficult times for the state, applied the knowledge gained at the Military School. Unfortunately, our history was interrupted. The new generation of officers, trained after the restoration of the independence of Lithuania, are no inferior in their fortitude and determination to the officers of that time. I hope that you, cadets, will keep cherishing the traditions of the Military School. I wish you strength and success in your studies and military service after your graduation from the Academy”, said Commandant Colonel Juozas Kačergius during the morning formation. On the special occasion, the Commandant presented awards to the servicemen.
Every year, the MAL holds the commissioning ceremony introduced by the Military School. When commissioning the graduates, the President of the Republic of Lithuania taps a shoulder strap of every graduate with a sword by saying: “You shall not draw the sword without a cause nor shall you sheathe it without honour!“.
The opening of the Military School was a major step allowing a state established on 16 February 1918 to maintain its independence. When Lithuania restored its independence on 11 March 1991, the MAL also contributed to its consolidation.
The MAL fosters the same values as those dominant in the interwar Lithuania. Special attention is given to science, the culture of cadets, their physical and moral qualities, citizenship and patriotism.
Photo credit: Eimantas Genys