MVSC's Annual Banquet 2013
Madison’s Lithuanian community, friends, and MVSC members gathered on Saturday, April 27th, for the annual Madison Vilnius Sister Cities banquet.
As in the past few years, the Madison Club graciously hosted our event with beautiful table settings and a superb menu, which included a cold beet soup starter (rated by attendees, “The best they’ve ever had”) followed by a main course of beef short ribs that melted in one’s mouth. A truly impressive meal.
The evening's presentation was made by one of our own members, Dr. Jonas Juozevicius, speaking about his illustrious grandfather, one of Lithuania's greatest statesmen, president Aleksandras Stulginskis.
Video clips and still photos marked his grandfather’s life that began as the 12th child born to a poor farming family, his brief stay at seminary school, entrance into politics, love for his country and people, deportation to Siberia, and his life afterwards spent as a farmer. All the while, the audience was impressed with the speaker’s physical resemblance to his grandfather.
Dr. Juozevicius read moving letters written by Aleksandras to his only daughter, Dr. Aldona Stulginskaite-Juozeviciene, written as he and his wife, Ona, were being exiled to the gulag.
Aleksandras died in Kaunas in 1969 at the age of 84, but his legacy inspired the movement of independence of our times, the Singing Revolution. His term of office saw the achievements of: the creation of a free and democratic Lithuania, the first constitution, diplomatic relations with countries around the world, land reform, the Bank of Lithuania and the Litas, membership in the League of Nations, the founding of universities, most significantly the University of Agriculture, now re-named Aleksandras Stulginskis University, as well as the founding of secondary schools and over 2,000 primary schools.
In addition to the information about the president, Jonas gave us a quick trip through Lithuania’s history, how it influenced his grandfather, and how his grandfather influenced future generations. We were especially honored to have Dr. Stulginskaite-Juozeviciene and her daughter, Ramune Juozeviciute-Rackauskiene (from Chicago) in attendance.
This year’s fundraising raffle was a huge success, led by the always amusing and entertaining Ditas Adomenas. Many lucky winners were pleased with their prizes of Lithuanian beer, cheese, bread, crafts, and photography.
Many thanks go out to Dr. Juozevicius, his mother and sister, MVSC members as well as our guests, and the wonderful management and staff of the Madison Club. We already look forward to next year’s event!