Antanas Smetona – Lithuanian member of the Democratic Party, was considered to be one of the best Lithuanian language stylists, “Lietuvos Aidas” the publisher and the editor.
Antanas Smetona was born on 10th August 1874 in Ukmergė County, to a family of small farmers. In 1884 he began to study at Taurėnai primary school and there he studied very well. In 1893 he finished middle school and, advised by his family, passed the exams to enter the priest seminary, but he changed his mind and got accepted to Mintauja gymnazium. There together with Jonas Jablonskis and Vincas Kudirka he belonged to a secret Lithuanian organisation. He was expelled from the gymnasium due to national requirements and because of his refusal to pray in Russian. In 1897 he graduated from the gymnasium of St. Petersburg. He joined the faculty of law at the University of St. Petersburg, where he got expelled twice, arrested and briefly imprisoned.
From 1903 Antanas Smetona worked for the agricultural Bank of Vilnius. On February 16th 1918 Antanas Smetona signed the Act of independence of Lithuania. On April 4th 1919 the Lithuanian State Council selected Antanas Smetona as the first President of Lithuania. On January 9th, 1944 at the age of 69 he unexpectedly died during a fire (in Cleveland, USA). In America during the 1920s a bronze medal to “ The first President of Lithuania Antanas Smetona in 1919‘‘ was forged in his memory.