Nation to Mark Independence Day With Pomp and Ceremony (2)
Flags will be flying across Estonia on Friday as the nation celebrates the 94th anniversary of its independence.
While many will no doubt use the occasion to sleep in, officials, diplomats and patriotic members of the public will be taking part in a number of ceremonial events planned for the occasion.
The bulk of this year's events will take place in Tartu, and will be attended by President Ilves, Prime Minister Ansip, members of the government and Parliament, and representatives of the diplomatic corps.
The program starts bright and early, at 07:24, with a formal flag-raising ceremony at the Tartu Old Observatory. A similar ceremony will take place in Tallinn at 07:35, accompanied by a speech by Speaker of Parliament Ene Ergma.
At 10:15 wreaths will be placed at the base of the Kalevipoeg memorial statue in Tartu in honor of those who fell during Estonia's War of Independence.
That event will be followed by an 11:00 service in St. John's Church.
The grandest public event by far, the traditional Independence Day parade, will begin at noon with most of the activity focused on Vabaduse puiestee adjacent Town Hall Square.
About 1,000 military personnel will take part, including members of the infantry, signal corps, cadet, anti-aircraft, artillery, naval, air defense and Defense League units. While performing marching steps and the traditional greeting for the president, they will be accompanied by a motorcade of armored vehicles, as well as the combined orchestras of the Defense Forces and the Police and Border Guard Board.
At 13:30 Prime Minister Ansip will deliver a number of science, sports and cultural awards at a ceremony at Tartu University's main auditorium.
The final staple of Estonia's official Independence Day activities, the celebratory concert and the formal reception of the president and first lady, will begin at the Vanemuine Theatre and Concert Hall at 18:00.
The president is expected to deliver his Independence Day address shortly after that event begins, his office said.