By Cadet Moriah Wallace:
Oklahoma State University 2015
“Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”- Napoléon Bonaparte.
As the shackles of religious percussion, political injustice and racial intolerance fell upon Lithuania it would truly prove to be their faith that would unite them. Today (6-21-2013) the Lithuanian Team-2 CULP Cadets had the opportunity to witness the most visible display of Soviet defiance in Lithuanian history, the Hill of Crosses.
From the moment you see the Hill and start to walk through the labyrinth of crosses you are unequivocally moved. You are moved not by a simple shove, but by a wave of humility that could capsize the most steadfast of ships. When walking on to grounds of such note it is easy to carry with you your own opinion on what you expect to see, especially after seeing dozens of pictures and hearing several briefs that note its grandeur.
Pictures may be worth a thousand words but no amount of photos can capture the speechlessness caused by your first view the Hill.
When looking closer you will notice that there are numerous rosaries accented on each of the crosses. While there are rich Catholic undertones to the Hill it by no means taints the experience for the people of other faiths in the group. Being a non-denominational Christian myself, I can say, without hesitation, that it was very exciting to be so immersed in another cultures undying faith and hope for their religious and political independence.
Their faith and outward expression of it would prove to be strong enough to attract the attention of Pope John Paul II. In 1993 John Paul visited the Hill of Crosses and left on it an inscribed plate stating “Thank you, Lithuanians, for this Hill of Crosses which testifies to the nations of Europe and to the whole world the faith of the people of this land.”