In the middle of Bastejkalns Park is the Freedom Monument.
This is a very tall structure overlooking Old Town Riga. I found it interesting that when you look at a map of Riga, you see that the Freedom Monument sits between the former KGB building and the Soviet Victory Monument. It’s kind of ironic and it shows something deeper in my mind – occupation has long effects. The Freedom Monument stands in start contrast to occupation.
This is also ironic in the fact that the freedom monument was there before the Soviet occupation started – they didn’t tear it down. I’m guessing that the arguments against tearing it down might have included things like saying that the Soviets were imposing true freedom through communism, or some other such malarkey.
When I was there, there were two military personnel standing guard just like soldiers stand guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier. This makes a nice contrast with the stone monument telling all that freedom isn’t just a something in the past, but there are still those to are vigilantly watching for others’ freedom.
There’s a good posting on Wikipedia about the monument if you are interested in learning more. Here’s the first paragraph:
The Freedom Monument (Latvian: Brīvības piemineklis) is a memorial located in Riga, Latvia, honouring soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence (1918–1920). It is considered an important symbol of the freedom, independence, and sovereignty of Latvia. Unveiled in 1935, the 42-metre (138 ft) high monument of granite, travertine, and copper often serves as the focal point of public gatherings and official ceremonies in Riga.