The August 20 Club held its traditional festive meeting in the White Hall of Toompea Castle today. President of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Henn Põlluaas and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas spoke at the meeting.
Põlluaas emphasised in his speech that the resolution passed by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia 28 years ago today was one of the top moments in the history of Estonia, and it was not possible to diminish its importance.
The President of the Riigikogu recalled the complicated times full of political tension. “A reactionary coup attempt had taken place in Moscow, the armoured vehicles of Pskov air assault division had reached Tallinn and the communist Intermovement was very active,” Põlluaas said. “Passing of that resolution at that moment shows courage, bravery and commitment to the Republic of Estonia and the future of Estonia.” He acknowledged the contribution of all the members of the August 20 Club and thanked them from all his heart.
Põlluaas asserted that the Estonian people had preserved their democratic attitude through all times. “We have proven that we deserve freedom, we have experiences which show that we will never again surrender silently and we will firmly stand for our freedom,” he added.
Prime Minister Ratas said that he very much appreciated how 69 members of the Supreme Council at that time put the interests of our people and our country higher than their personal fate. “At that moment, there could be no full assurance that the decision that had been passed would remain in place,” Ratas said. “You could only believe and hope. By disregarding yourself, you shaped a much better fate for us all with your brave decision. Besides loving your fatherland, you did a huge work.”
Member of the August 20 Club and the Constitutional Assembly Liia Hänni delivered a report “The Choices Then and Now”. Hänni pointed out that our life consisted of choices we make every day. “These choices shape the lives of us ourselves and those close to us, but there are also choices that influence the future of the whole nation,” Hänni said. “Today, Estonia is decorated with flags to acknowledge the historical choice the Supreme Council made 28 years ago.”
On 20 August 1991 at 11.03 p.m., the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia adopted the Resolution to restore the national independence of Estonia with 69 votes in favour.
The President of the Riigikogu presented the blue-black-white flags that had flown on the Tall Hermann Tower to the four persons who had hoisted the flag on 24 February 1989. The flags were given to Helen Lepalaan, Sille Tamm, Madis Laansalu and Rauno Tagel.
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