Unity and solidarity are as important today as they were during the first years of our Republic, speaker of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas (Center) said on Thursday at the flag-raising ceremony marking Independence Day.
Ratas said that, on the Independence Day of the Republic of Estonia, we feel a deep sense of togetherness with each other. He expressed hope that we would feel this unity every day of our lives.
Ratas pointed out that the threat of war in Europe, the long-winded health care crisis and economic worries made us work even harder, care for each other, and seek cooperation.
He called everybody to build up Estonia so that the love for homeland would grow in the hearts of all people of Estonia.
"The all-round support of the state must also reach all Estonian people and every Estonian family. This is the only way to keep our beloved Estonia standing on a solid foundation," he said.
Ratas also noted that the flag of Estonia was a symbol of freedom, peace, and independence, and on June 27 this year we would celebrate the 100th anniversary of the day when the Riigikogu of the Republic of Estonia granted the blue-black-and-white flag the status of the national flag.
Rata's full speech is republished below:
People of Estonia,
Today, as we stand together here on Toompea to celebrate the birthday of the Republic of Estonia, or in our homes surrounded by our friends and families, we feel a deep connection to each other. I hope that this feeling does not come over us only at important moments but that we feel connected to each other every day.
It is 104 years today from the establishment of the Republic of Estonia. We are blessed to be living in a safe country that is founded on freedom, justice, and law. We feel the value of this particularly keenly in the turbulence of the current international security environment.
Today, here on the slope of Toompea, in our homes, and across Estonia, our hearts are with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. Our response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine is a resounding NO. This is a savage attack against the foundations of European security and our shared democratic values, but it is not a destructive blow. Quite the contrary, the unity of the European Union and NATO, their cooperation and support to Ukraine are stronger than ever before.
The raising of our tricolor on this special day means a lot to Estonia and every one of us. Our national flag is a symbol of freedom, peace, and independence.
On 27 June this year, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the blue, black and white flag receiving the national flag status from the Riigikogu of the Republic of Estonia. Although our national flag was banned sometime later for the long occupation period, these colors nevertheless remained sheltered deep within our hearts and became even more precious and dear to us. We never gave up the dream of freedom... We swore vows on these colors – to fight and withstand. This makes it all the more special today, on the 104th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, to raise the blue, black and white flag here, on the Tall Hermann tower.
Unity and solidarity are just as important today as during the first years of our Republic. The threat of war in Europe, the long-winded health care crisis and economic worries make us work even harder, care for each other, and seek cooperation.
We must build our Estonia in a way that makes every Estonian heart swell with patriotism. The full support of the state must also reach every Estonian resident and every Estonian family. This is the only way to keep our beloved Estonia standing on a solid foundation.
Compatriots, ladies and gentlemen,
I wish us all a lovely and well-spent anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. Let us all enjoy the beautiful winter weather with our friends and families, admire the flying blue, black and white flags, and step together on the path towards the 105th anniversary of Estonia.
Let us take care of one another.
Long live Estonia!
Editor: Helen Wright