On the Independence Day of the Republic of Estonia, a flag raising ceremony was held in the Governor’s Garden at Toompea, Tallinn. President of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Jüri Ratas said in his speech at the ceremony that unity and solidarity were as important today as during the first years of our Republic.
Ratas said that today, in the early hours of morning, Russia had started a full-scale military attack against Ukraine, and the Government of the Republic of Estonia had decided to start consultations with our NATO allies on the basis of Article 4. “I condemn the totally unjustified aggression against free and peaceful Ukraine. War will bring along much suffering and human victims. It will have an impact on global security. Today, we all are with the country and people of Ukraine in our thoughts and prayers,” Ratas said. “Our response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is a resounding NO. This is a savage attack against the foundations of European security and our shared democratic values.” Ratas added that the unity of the European Union and NATO, their mutual cooperation and support to Ukraine were stronger than ever.
The President of the Riigikogu emphasised that, on the Independence Day of the Republic of Estonia, we feel a deep sense of togetherness with each other. He expressed hope that we would feel this unity every day of our lives. Ratas pointed out that the threat of war in Europe, the long-winded health care crisis and economic worries made us work even harder, care for each other, and seek cooperation. He called everybody to build up Estonia so that the love for homeland would grow in the hearts of all people of Estonia. “The all-round support of the state must also reach all Estonian people and every Estonian family. This is the only way to keep our beloved Estonia standing on a solid foundation,” he said.
Ratas also noted that the flag of Estonia was a symbol of freedom, peace, and independence, and on 27 June this year we would celebrate the 100th anniversary of the day when the Riigikogu of the Republic of Estonia granted the blue-black-and-white flag the status of the national flag.
Archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Urmas Viilma said the words of blessing at the ceremony. He said that the blue-black-white flag flew on the top of the Tall Hermann Tower for all people of Estonia, over all of us. “Blue, black and white are and will remain the colours that unite us all. This flag has never been raised to conquer or to commit violence against anybody under these colours,” Viilma pointed out. He added that, throughout history, the flag of Estonia had been a symbol of hope.
Maarja Mõts, winner of Voldemar Panso Prize and student of the Drama School of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, read out the Estonian Declaration of Independence.
The flag-raising ceremony was attended by President of the Republic of Estonia Alar Karis, President Kersti Kaljulaid, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Vice-Presidents of the Riigikogu Hanno Pevkur and Martin Helme and members of the Riigikogu, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and members of the Government, as well as representatives of constitutional institutions and the diplomatic corps, the Estonian Flag Association and the leadership of the Defence Forces and the Defence League.
The flag guards of the academic associations, the Defence Forces and the Defence League, patriotic organisations and schools participated the ceremony in the Governor’s Garden. The choirs of the Estonian Male Choir Association and the Tallinn Police Orchestra performed patriotic songs.
Today, the President of the Riigikogu will also participate in the laying of wreaths at the Victory Monument to the War of Independence on the Freedom Square, Tallinn, and attend the festive ecumenical divine service in the St. Mary’s Cathedral at Toompea. President of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas and Vice-Presidents of the Riigikogu Hanno Pevkur and Martin Helme will also attend the parade of the Defence Forces on the Victory Square, Tallinn.
President of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas and Vice-President of the Riigikogu Martin Helme will deliver speeches at the celebration of the 104th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia in the St. George’s Night Park, Tallinn, at 3 p.m.
Photos of the flag raising ceremony (Erik Peinar, Chancellery of the Riigikogu)