Tamme Sub-Unit of Estonian Defence League remembers founder, first chief Harri Henn
Famous for driving the truck that pulled down the Lenin statue in Tartu in 1990, decorated Retired Captain Harri Henn dedicated much of his life to work in the Estonian Defence League and Defence Forces, supporting Estonian youth organizations, and providing leadership to many involved in the development and defense of the country.
Members of the Tamme Sub-Unit of the Estonian Defence League's Tartu District bow their heads in sorrow, as their sub-unit’s founding member and first Chief of Sub-Unit Harri Henn has passed away.
Throughout his life, Harri Henn was a man of the people. He liked to write, as is evident from the following excerpt of his writing:
"Few people are born heroes—heroic in the life’s work and achievements. Billions of people have lived on this Earth, but only a precious few of them have remained immortal—whose names together with their deeds live on, from the dusky depths of history until the end of time. They are the ones to whom Nature has been particularly kind, bathing them in her noblest gifts, of which the greatest are surely the will to work, tenacity, and the desire to achieve all that is good and noble, everlasting and beautiful. These people light the way for their contemporaries; they determine direction, they invigorate, they usher in new and valuable eras, reestablish national morale, and bestow victory upon the longings and unconscious desires of so many generations. Lucky is the society rich in idealistically confident men and women.”
Three things can be counted as Harri Henn's biggest achievements in life: the creation of the Tamme district of the Estonian Defence League, the removal of the Vladimir Lenin statue from in front of Riia 12, former home of the Estonian Agricultural Academy and current home of the Defence League’s Tamme Sub-Unit, on August 23, 1990, and the occupation and guarding of the Tartu KGB building. These achievements demanded a great deal of civic courage from him, as well as sympathy from others. But other deeds done under his leadership were by no means less notable, including but not limited to dedicating and restorating various memorials, securing of military documents, and preventing military warehouse stores from being dispersed. The list goes on and on, and every story on it involves details that would be worthy of mention.
For years, Henn organized summer camps on the island of Aegna, within the framework of the “Young Self-Aware Citizen – Safe Mustamäe” project, which aimed to help prevent drug use and crime in Estonian youth.
Retired Captain Harri Henn worked in leading officer roles in both the Estonian Defence Forces and the Estonian Defence League, and beginning in 1990 supported the work of the Young Eagles (“Noored Kotkad”) and Home Daughters (“Kodutütred”) organizations as well.
He was awarded the Ministry of Defence Cross of Merit, 2nd Class, the Estonian Defence League White Cross, 2nd Class, and the War of Independence Memorial Cross.