Thursday saw Veterans' Day in Estonia marked in a more low-key way than usual due to the pandemic, with the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) commemorating the fallen at its Tapa base.
The ceremony centered on a statue taken from Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, and was also marked by members of First Fusiliers of the British Army, an armored infantry battalion who form the kernel of the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battlegroup at present.
Around 80 EDF members including flag bearers from 1st Infantry Brigade, under whose command the eFP falls, took part, with Minister of Defense Jüri Luik (Isamaa), commander of the EDF Maj. Gen. Martin Herem, and commander of the volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit) Riho Ühtegi present, along with other dignitaries.
Veterans of the EDF and Defense League together number upwards of 3,000 and have served in theaters including the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali and Lebanon, since the mid-1990s.
The memorial, opened by then-president Toomas Hendrik Ilves in 2010, stood at Camp Bastion until 2013 when the memorial plate with the names of nine fallen was taken to Estonia, followed by the monument itself late last year.
First Fusiliers: Extremely proud to celebrate Veterans' Day
First Fusiliers noted the event too.
"We are extremely proud to celebrate Veterans' Day in Estonia today," the unit posted on the eFP social media page.
"Truly an honor to join in commemorations alongside our partners in the EDF. We wear our blue Hepatica (Sinilill) with pride. 'Let us salute!'," the post, which also included a video greeting from the battalion's commanding officer, continued.
Editor: Andrew Whyte