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Statement by the President of Lithuania during the official ceremony of granting the Order of Grand Duke Vytautas to H.E. Mr. George W. Bush, President of the United States of America


Your Excellency Mr. President,
Mrs. Laura Bush,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great honor to welcome you, Mr. President, and Mrs. Laura Bush in Lithuania. Lithuanian nation joins me in welcoming you and the entire American delegation.
This is a truly historic day for Lithuania and for the whole of our region. Two days ago, NATO invited our countries to become members the North Atlantic Alliance. The dream of millions of Lithuanians and other Central Europeans to join a free, democratic and united Europe is about to come true.
Today, we are immensely pleased to receive you, Mr. President, not only as our friend and supporter, but also as the first American President to visit Lithuania ever. In the eyes of the Lithuanian people, your visit is the clearest expression of America’s unwavering commitment to our region.
American support has been crucial to us throughout the turbulent 20th century, and today we thank you, Mr. President, and the entire American nation for this commitment.
As an expression of our gratitude, we are truly honored to present you, Mr. President, with the highest national recognition -- the Order of Vytautas the Great. Vytautas was a distinctive historical personality, a great statesman of the 14th century, who had consolidated Lithuania as a great European power, and had asserted the principles of cultural and religious tolerance in the Lithuanian State.
Back in those days, Vytautas was the statesman who had pursued successfully the vision of a united Europe, from the Baltic to the Black Sea.
600 years later you, Mr. President, have revived these ideas and have put them in practice. For all your dedication to Europe, whole and free, and for your effective leadership towards this goal, allow me, Mr. President, to present you with this award.

H.E. Mr. Valdas Adamkus, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Maintained by the Office of the President of the Republic of Lithuania. Please specify source when quoting.