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Past events in Arizona:
Lithuanian Independence Day Celebration

 Date: February 23, 2003
 Place: St. Clement of Rome Parish Hall, Sun City, Arizona

This celebration of Lithuanian Independence was hosted by the Arizona Chapter of the Lithuanian-American Community. The celebration started with a luncheon and was followed by a political and cultural program. After a brief welcome by Rimantas Vaitkus, our m.c. Antonija Petrulis took over the running of the program. The first half of the program began with the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner and a minute of silence to honor those who gave their lives for Lithuania's freedom. Dr. Violet Juodakis read Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano's proclamation declaring February 16th as Lithuanian Day in Arizona. Kęstutis Eidukonis, LC, USAR Ret., read a resolution calling our political leaders to support the admission of Lithuania into the NATO alliance. The resolution was accepted unanimously. Copies of this resolution have been forwarded to the Governor of Arizona, Arizona's Congressmen and Senators, and the President. At this point there was a 20 minute intermission during which guests were encouraged to see the adjoining Angel Museum, consisting of over a thousand angel representations collected and donated to the parish by Julia Chesna.

The program continued with a very interesting slide presentation by Prof. K. Paul Zygas about the churches built and religious treasures donated by the nobility of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania that are to be found in Vilnius, Lithuania. The talk was followed by 4 beautiful Lithuanian songs performed by Rasa Vaičiulienė. Then, Maj. Anne Krizanauskas, who was in the first group of inductees to the Arizona Veteran Hall of Fame, spoke about the meaning of her Lithuanian heritage in her life. The program ended with the Lithuanian National anthem.

Our special thanks goes to all the people who volunteered their time and efforts to make this celebration a success: Alex Kuratczyk for helping us to get access to the hall; Anna Adomaitis for the gift of tablecloths; Casimir Matonis and Vytautas Reklaitis for preparing the hall; Audronė Bartys and Gilanda Matonis for decorating the hall; Aldona Vaitkus with the help of Edith Balceris, Audronė Bartys, Dr. Violet Juodakis, Rima Reklaitis, and Rasa Vaičiulienė for preparing the food; Ginta Martinaitis, Kris Motiejunas, and Marius Vaičiulis for serving the tables; Antonija Petrulis for being our m.c.; Dr. Violet Juodakis for reading the governor's proclamation; Kęstutis Eidukonis for reading the NATO resolution; Prof. K. P. Zygas for the interesting presentation; Rasa Vaičiulienė for her singing; Maj. Anne Krizanauskas for sharing her experiences; Vytautas Reklaitis for selling tickets; and Severina Vanagunas for collecting donations.

Prof. K. P. Zygas
Impromptu duet.

A. Ambraska & S. Banaitis

hall view
View of the hall during the luncheon.

guests 1
D. & A. Motiejunas & W. Rozaitis
guests 4
E. & V. Timmins, O. Baker

guests 2
G. Matonis, A. Bartys & J. Chesna
guests 8
L. Algin & A. Gervickas

S. Vanagunas & S. Shannon
Our all-stars.

(photos by R. Vaitkus)