European parliament president attending independence day 30th anniversary

Estonian blue-black-white flag atop Pikk Hermann tower in Tallinn.
Estonian blue-black-white flag atop Pikk Hermann tower in Tallinn. Source: Riigikogu

President of the European Parliament David Sassoli will join the speakers of the Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian and Polish parliaments at events marking the thirtieth anniversary of the restoration of Estonian independence, on Friday, August 20.

The day's program begins with the traditional flag-raising ceremony in the Kuberneri aed (Governor's Garden) on Toompea, adjacent to the Riigikogu in Tallinn, and will end with a concert entitled "The Spirit and the Power of Woman," at the same venue, the Riigikogu says on its website.

The flag-raising ceremony on the Pikk Hermann tower is to be conducted by three generations of one family, namely Tõnu Saarma, member of the August 20 Club and his daughter and grandchildren, BNS reports.

Five-hundred free entry tickets are to be distributed ahead of the event, at sals points and on ticketing site Piletlevi, while those attending are required to present proof of coronavirus vaccination, a recent negative test result or recovery from the virus, while rapid testing will reportedly be available on the day.

August 20 1991 saw the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia adopted the Resolution on the National Independence of Estonia, with 69 votes in favor. The poll's results were called at 11.03 p.m. that day, and the result meant that the state proclaimed on February 24, 1918 had been restored, after decades of de facto Soviet occupation.

The morning ceremony at the Governor's Garden will be attended by flag teams from academic associations and patriotic organizations, with musical accompaniment from the Estonian Male Choir Association, conducted by Andrus Siimon, Indrek Vijard and Jaanika Kuusik, and the Police and Border Guard Orchestra, conducted by Riivo Jogi.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and Riigikogu speaker Jüri Ratas are to address the ceremony, as speaker of the Althing – the Icelandic parliament – Steingrímur J. Sigfússon.

Iceland was one of the first countries to recognize restored independence.

Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church leader, Archbishop Urmas Viilma, will issue the blessing.

The rest of the day's events look like this:

10 a.m. Wreath-laying ceremony at the Memorial Stone to August 20, in Kardriorg.

11 a.m. State postal service Eesti Post presents postal stationery dedicated to the anniversary at Toompea castle's Valge Saal (White Hall) s. The commemorative card includes photo of the Session Hall of the Riigikogu Building immediately after the resolution on the restoration of independence had been passed, with the time showing 11.03 p.m.

12 p.m. The August 20th Club and the XIV Riigikogu, the current composition of parliament, to hold a formal, joint sitting, to be addressed by the Head of State and the Spaker of the Riigikogu, as well as the August 20 Club's chief Ants Veetõusme, and leaders of the corresponding organizations. President of the European Parliament David Sassoli will also address the Riigikogu.. Parliament is currently on recess until mid-September, but will reconvene for this ceremonial event, as well as for the presidential election session 10 days later.

2 p.m. The August 20 Club's annual celebratory meeting takes place in Toompea Castle.

3 p.m. "The Spirit and the Power of Woman," concert, dedicated to the Estonian women who have been committed to Estonian independence both before and after the fact, begins in the Governor's Garden. Thirty women musicians from Estonia and the Academic Male Choir of Tallinn University of Technology are taking part.

Women singers and groups taking part include  Anne Veski, Elina Born, Getter Jaani, Liisi Koikson, Liis Lemsalu, "Naised Köögis", Birgit Sarrap, Evelin Võigemast, Kaire Vilgats and Kadri Voorand.

The concert will be broadcast by ETV and Vikerraadio.

President Kersti Kaljulaid's traditional annual Roosiaed (Rose Garden) reception takes place at Kadriorg in the evening.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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