President of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas (EKRE) said on Monday that the Estonian national flag has become become an integral part of the nation, its identity and its independence.
Speaking at the flag raising ceremony marking Estonian flag day, held at the Governor's Garden on Toompea Monday morning, Põlluaas added the flag was a link which bound the previous and subsequent generations together.
"The Estonian flag is our symbol, which was carried by the previous, and will be carried by the next, generations, and which means freedom, independence and aspirations to survive in this world," Põlluaas said, according to a Riigikogu press release.
The event marked the 135th anniversary of the blue, black and white Estonian flag's first consecration, which took place in Otepää on June 4 1884. The tricolor itself was first made by the Estonian Students' Society (EÜS), in spring of that year, later being adopted as the official national flag.
Monday's ceremony brought representatives of the military, the volunteer Defence League and its affiliated organizations, and various schools and other organizations. Music was provided by the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) orchestra, together with choirs from the Estonian Female Song Society and several Tallinn schools.
Jüri Trei, Estonian Flag Association chair, and Archbishop Urmas Viilma, head of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK), also spoke at the event. The flag-raising itself took place at 7 a.m.
"The Estonian flag embodies faith, hope and love. Faith in our people, our independence, our strength and will. Hope for survival and for the bright future. Love for our country and for all," Põlluaas continued.
"Besides the 135th anniversary of our national flag, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the work of the Estonian parliament; the first All-Estonian Song Festival also took place 150 years ago," Põlluaas said.
He also noted that thirty years has passed since the Baltic chain – a protest which linked hundreds of thousands of people in a human chain linking all three Baltic capital cities – and the day the Estonian flag was again raised on Pikk Hermann Tower after the Soviet occupation.
"Let us keep this flag and these colors in our hearts, and let this flag never fall," Põlluaas said.
Pikk Hermann tower, adjacent to the Governor's Garden on Toompea, is open to the public, free of charge, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., on Monday. In order to ensure a smooth through-flow of visitors, tickets indicate specific entry times to the tower.
Editor: Andrew Whyte