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Minister of Defence on War of Independence: the roots of freedom are within us

3. January 2019 - 16:00
Minister of Defence on War of Independence: the roots of freedom are within us
Minister of Defence on War of Independence: the roots of freedom are within us

A minute of silence was observed today, in Tallinn, marking the 99th anniversary of the War of Independence ceasefire, during which those who gave their lives for Estonia’s independence were remembered.

In his speech at the memorial service, Minister of Defence Jüri Luik noted that the fight against the enemy was carried out by a force consisting of the people, with school boys, students, and their teachers playing a critical role in its spirit.

‘It is very important that this spiritedness and hope, which characterised our people during the War of Independence, continues to live on inside all of us today,’ said Luik.

The Minister of Defence emphasised that we must have the utmost gratitude for our allies the Brits, Finns, Swedes and Danes, who risked their lives fighting for Estonia’s freedom – we have good friends and allies, together with whom we are strong and able to plan our future as a free and independent country.

According to Luik, the Estonian state and its people are better protected today than ever before. ‘The roots of freedom are inevitably found within us all, our society and our people,’ added Luik.

Today at 10.30, a minute of silence was observed in front of the Reaali Poiss sculpture, accompanied by church bells and ships' whistles, in order to honour those Estonians and foreigners who gave their lives for Estonia during the War of Independence.

In addition, a speech was given by Tallinn Secondary School of Science student Erko Olumets, and Hains Tooming, representative of the Estonian Student Fraternities Union.

During the ceremony, wreaths from the Estonian people, the Defence Forces, the Defence League and the diplomatic corps were laid at the base of the Reaali Poiss sculpture.

At 10.30 on 3 January 1920, a ceasefire halting the military conflict between the Republic of Estonia and the Soviet Union entered into force until 10 January. Hostilities never resumed, and the peace treaty was signed on 2 February 1920, in Tartu, with the War of Independence having ended in victory for Estonia.

The War of Independence lasted for 402 days. Estonia lost more than 6000 people during the war, with nearly 4000 were lost in direct combat.

Photos of the ceremony:

Further information: press[at]kaitseministeerium[dot]ee

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