Independence Day festivities focused on northeastern Estonia ({{commentsTotal}})

The Independence Day celebrations on February 24 centered on one of the largest military parades in recent memory, in Narva.

The other key event in the commemoration of the 97th anniversary of Estonian independence was the president's address to the nation and the Independence Day reception, where some of the best and the brightest filed past the First Couple. This year's reception was also held in the northeast, in the concert hall in the city of Jõhvi. Over 800 people attended.

Tuesday's schedule got underway with the traditional flag raising on Toompea Hill in Tallinn and in Narva, at sunrise.

In Narva, there was an ecumenical church service at Alexander Church at 10:30.

The military parade part of the day in Narva took place around midday. After roll call and arrival of the flag and the chief of defense, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves arrived at noon.

The president reviewed the troops, and an address was delivered by Lt. Gen. Riho Terras, chief of defense. The public milled over a selection of combat equipment displayed on the main square after the parade.

The president addressed the nation in the evening at 18:00, which is available here in full and in English.

On Monday, President Ilves bestowed decorations on the 99 luminaries chosen this year, in a ceremony in Rakvere.

Well wishes from abroad have started coming in as well, with the British foreign secretary - representing one of Estonia's closest WWI-era and current allies - in town for meetings.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent his own greetings to Ilves, the Russian embassy said, with hopes for "prosperity for a multiethnic Estonia."

Editor: K. Rikken

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