The Freedom Monument (Latvian: Brīvības Piemineklis), located in Riga, Latvia, is a memorial in honor of soldiers killed in action during the Latvian War of Independence. It is an important symbol of the freedom, independence and sovereignty of Latvia. Unveiled in 1935, the 42 meters high monument of granite, travertine and copper often serves as the focal point of public gatherings and official ceremonies.
The sculptures and bas-reliefs of the Freedom Monument, arranged in thirteen groups, depict Latvian culture and history. The core of the monument is composed of tetragonal shapes on top of each other, decreasing in size towards the top, completed by a 19 meters high travertine column bearing the copper figure of Liberty lifting three gilded stars. The concept of the monument first emerged in the early 1920s, when the Prime Minister of Latvia, Zigfrīds Anna Meierovics, ordered rules to be drawn up for a contest for designs of a "memorial column". After several contests the monument was finally built at the beginning of the 1930s according to the scheme "Shine like a star!" by Latvian sculptor Kārlis Zāle.
During World War II Latvia was annexed by the USSR and the Freedom Monument was considered for demolition, but no such move was carried out, because of the high artistic value of the monument. Propaganda was used to alter the symbolical meaning of the monument according to Soviet ideology. Yet it remained a symbol of national independence to the general public and on 14 June 1987 about 5,000 people gathered at there to commemorate the victims of the Soviet regime and to lay flowers. This rally began the national independence movement and three years later the independence of Latvia was re-established.