Estonian Defense League marks 30th annviersary since restoration

30th anniversary of the Defense league.
30th anniversary of the Defense league. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

A gathering marking the 30th anniversary of the restoration of the Estonian Defense League started with placing flowers on a memorial stone in front of the culture hall in Järvakandi, site of the organization's founding a year before the restoration of the independence, ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported Sunday.

In the same hall where the Defense League was founded, a conference dedicated to the anniversary took place.

Currently, there are 26 000 members in the Defense League, including the Estonian Women's Voluntary Defense Organization (Naiskodukaitse), Estonian Defense League Girls' Organization (Kodutütred) and the Estonian Defense League Boys' Organization (Noored kotkad).

Commander of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF), Maj. Gen. Martin Herem, was 17 at the time of the restoration meeting of the Defense League, where he was involved in guarding the building's surroundings.

"I was probably too young to sense any fear. But we are of the opinion that where we have made it today might not be reachable as calmly [s it was]. And we definitely had some form of bravery and readiness to fight despite, our young age," Herem said.

Commander of the Defense League itself, Brig. Gen. Riho Ühtegi, considers increasing the number of members with military defense capabilities and building territorial defense as one of the greatest tasks facing the Defense League.

"For Estonia, this (territorial defense - Ed.) is the only broad-based defense option that emphasizes greatly the units located in their home areas to help with different crises and threats," Ühtegi explained.

The original Defense League was founded during the period of the First Estonian Republic, following an attempted coup in 1924.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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