Speaker of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas (EKRE) said a unified and strong Estonia is needed, where everyone is valued, and that freedom cannot be taken for granted during his speech to mark the 102nd anniversary of the Republic of Estonia on Monday.
Põlluaas was speaking just after the raising of the flag at sunrise at the Governor's Garden at Toompea in Tallinn.
His speech, in full, is below:
"People of Estonia!
"Today is the Independence Day of Estonia, a day of joy for all of us.
"102 years ago, the independent Republic of Estonia was born. 101 years ago, our blue-black-and-white national flag was raised here, on the Tall Hermann Tower, for the first time.
"Several meanings have been attributed to the colours of this wonderfully beautiful flag. For me, blue means the blue of the Estonian sky, the reflection of our lakes and seas. Black is the colour of soil and the long coat of our national costume. White expresses the Estonians' inextinguishable striving for happiness, freedom and a bright future.
"Today, we have reason to be happy. We have our own state, a free country and a free life. We have the possibility of making this country and the lives of all of us a wonderful adventure that takes us on to the future through respect, friendship, work and love. Regardless of everything that is taking place in the complicated world of today.
"However, happiness is not a place you arrive at, but also a long and endless path to improvement. Never stop on this path!
"People of Estonia!
"There are obstacles and trials on every journey. The people of Estonia have always overcome all difficulties. We owe a debt of gratitude to our ancestors who founded our state and built it up.
"It is our turn now. We need a unified and strong Estonia where each one of our people is valued. And I know that we will pass on an even more beautiful and better fatherland to those who will come after us. It is our duty.
"Let us rejoice in our freedom and independence, and let us keep it in our minds and in our hearts. Because freedom and independence are not to be taken for granted. They have not come easily, and it is necessary to stand for them. We are ready for that.
"Today is a wonderful day for understanding and celebrating, so that we can look into the future with good thoughts, feelings and confidence. Let us join our hearts, thoughts and deeds to go on together.
"Long live the Republic of Estonia!"
Editor: Helen Wright