President Alar Karis at the 2023 state decorations ceremony

President of Estonia Alar Karis.
President of Estonia Alar Karis. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

President Alar Karis thanked recipients of state decorations and their family and loves ones especially in a speech given on Tuesday.

Esteemed recipients, ladies and gentlemen,

I recently read with great interest, indeed great excitement, your reactions upon learning that you were to be awarded a state decoration.

"What, me?! But what have I done to deserve one! I never thought anything like this would happen! I'm just doing my job"

These are just a few comments betraying modesty on all your parts.

Well, let me say that you are all far too modest!

Your lives are so full of dedication, of loyalty to your professions, of fidelity to Estonia, which – let's be honest – is not something that can be said of everybody. Or rather that these are things not everyone has embraced to the same extent that you have.

But because you have, Estonia is grateful. And to thank you, it has awarded you its highest honor: a state decoration.

We need professionalism, wisdom, inventiveness and selfless dedication in every walk of life. And recently I have felt that there is another thing we need more than ever, too: intrepidness, mettle, pluck; call it what you will. Not foolhardiness, but fearlessness; verve and vitality.

Looking back, I feel that there was more of it in the past than there is in Estonia today: the intrepidness to try things – including when dealing with big, important issues – and, if you fail, to pick yourself up and try again. Mistakes are not something to fear, but present another chance. The problem is when that second chance isn't given. Fear of failure stifles progress. You, however, are not plagued by such fears. As recipients of state decorations, you are the very embodiment of verve and mettle.

This year's recipients come from every corner of our country. Their contributions act as threads in our tight-knit community, binding Estonia together and making it stronger.

Needless to say there are names on the list which are there because of Russia's war of aggression in Europe. Close, trusted cooperation between like-minded countries plays a vital part in multilateral support for Ukraine and in bolstering our national defense. I am delighted that Estonia is such a reliable partner, and indeed in a number of cases a veritable brother-in-arms, in this regard.

Before I finish, I would especially like to say a few words to the friends and family of today's recipients. Thank you for being there for them, these people who have gone above and beyond, for supporting them and understanding them. Without the arm of those close to us, however few or many, none us can stand on our own. My wife has her own way of expressing this: it is important to each and every person that someone, somewhere is waiting for them.

Estonia is grateful to you all.

Thank you!


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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