My first trip to Latvia was in 1990 and I was lucky enough to be in the audience at the Song Festival, which is normally held every 5 years. When I heard the National Anthem, God Bless Latvia, it brought tears to my eyes and I was not alone. The tears represented joy at being in my Homeland and sadness for the years of occupation. The video on this page is the singing of the national anthem at that festival. The two photos are my own. On the left is what I saw from my seat. The thousands of singers were tiny from that distance, but their singing was huge and heard clearly. The photo on the right is from the parade, which was a few days before the singing evening. The parade lasted for hours, with every group dressed in their town’s native costume, the same costumes they wear for the singing event. Interestingly, this event took place 50 years after the Song Festival that my novel (Song of Latvia) begins with.