Estonia celebrates 25 years of regained independence (6)
Those hoisting the Estonian flag on Tallinn’s Pikk Hermann tower today were born on Aug. 20, 1991, when the Supreme Council of the Estonian SSR declared that Estonia was an independent country and no longer part of the Soviet Union.
The Estonian flag flies on Pikk Hermann from sunrise to sunset every day. Today, it is hoisted by young people born on Aug. 20 a quarter of a century ago.
Chairman of the August 20 Club, Ants Veetõusme, said to the people who had come to celebrate 25 years of regained Estonian independence that this couldn’t be any more symbolic. It was their generation, today’s youth, who would shape Estonia’s future, and take care of the country for the coming 25 years.
On Aug. 20, 1991, at 11:02 p.m., the Supreme Council of the Estonian Socialist Soviet Republic voted in favor of declaring Estonia’s independence from the USSR. Those who voted in favor later became the members of the August 20 Club, which have since worked to keep the memory of that day alive.
President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor (SDE) recalled what it felt like to wake up that day, worrying about how far the August Putsch had progressed in Moscow, what the soldiers were doing that had been sent to spoil Estonians’ efforts to regain independence, hoping everybody was alive and well.
And also how it felt to wake up with the hope to finally be free and independent again.
“Many of us had never felt so much hope and worry at the same time,” Nestor said. “At the end of the day we already felt like victors, because the Supreme Council adopted the decision at 11:02 p.m. that Estonia was an independent country.”
The day’s celebrations will continue with a flower-laying ceremony at the August 20 memorial stone on Toompea hill in Tallinn at 10 a.m.
At 11 a.m., the Bank of Estonia together with the Estonian Post will introduce commemorative coin and stamp sets in the White Hall of Toompea Castle.
This will be followed by a joint sitting of the 13th Riigikogu and the August 20 Club at 12 p.m.
Also at 12 p.m., more than 1,000 singers and 100 dancers will meet for a concert on Tallinn's Freedom Square. The concert will feature several orchestras and choirs, and celebrate the Song Festival's most important songs as well as more recent compositions.
At 3 p.m. there will be a free concert outside Toompea Castle, where contemporary artists as well as important acts of the 1980s will perform, including artists from Latvia and Finland.
In the evening, the president will hold a reception in Kadriorg's rose garden. The reception begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be followed by a concert, starting at 10 p.m.
There will be a live broadcast of the concert on ERR News starting 10 p.m.