Minister of Defence Jüri Luik, together with his Finnish counterpart Jussi Niinistö, took part in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Paju and the liberation of Valga.
During his speech by the memorial plaque dedicated to the Northern Sons, at St. John's Church, in Valga, Minister of Defence Jüri Luik noted that the Battle of Paju, which took place on 31 January, is considered one of the fiercest battles of the War of Independence because of the deaths of 34 combatants and the wounding of over 100 others.
‘The Battle of Paju was won, and Valga liberated, only because our Finnish brothers fought bravely and selflessly by our side. For this, they have our eternal gratitude and remembrance,’ stated Luik.
The Minister of Defence called upon everyone to remember all those people – Estonians as well as our allies – who left their health and lives behind in the War of Independence.
‘Estonia has been strong when we have had good friends and allies. This remains the case today, and our goal is to do everything in our power to see that it remains this way,' stated Luik.
Luik noted that volunteer based national defence occupies an important place alongside a reserve army and allies – the spirit of volunteering and patriotism, which is embodied by the Defence League, has been carried over to the present day from the time of the War of Independence.
‘Everyone is able to participate in the defence of their country. Let us preserve and value that spirit which gave courage and certainty to those who fought in the War of Independence, since it is with such support that our country will continue to exist,' emphasised Luik.
Minister of Defence Luik and Finnish Minister of Defence Jüri Niinistö also participated in the memorial ceremony in Paju Manor Park, held by the memorial to the Northern Sons and the monument to the Battle of Paju.
The Finnish Minister of Defence visited Armoured Train No. 7, Wabadus – completed in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia – which had arrived at the Valga railway station, and watched the re-enactment of the battle.
Photos: Liis Reiman
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