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Defence Minister Hanso: even in the darkest hour, Estonians have a strong desire for freedom
To commemorate Resistance Day in Estonia, Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso laid a wreath at the foot of the War of Independence Victory Monument on behalf of the Estonian people.
Hanso said it was very important to remember the Otto Tief government, the reason that the day is commemorated. While short-lived, serving only a few days in autumn 1944, the government represented the hope that Estonian independence would last.
“The actions of the Tief government were meaningful in spite of the hopelessness of the situation. They showed once again that even in the darkest hour, Estonians have a strong desire for freedom,” said Hanso.
Hanso said Estonia needed a similar will and courage today. “We live in a situation with an aggressive and unpredictable neighbour beyond our borders, and military conflicts taking place in the proximity of NATO and EU borders. We must be stronger and more united than ever before,” said Hanso.
Resistance Day began with the raising of the national flag on Pikk Hermann tower by schoolchildren from Secondary School No. 21 in Tallinn. After the laying of wreaths at the foot of the War of Independence Victory Monument, academic university organizations paid tribute to the members of the Otto Tief cabinet at the Metsakalmistu cemetery in Tallinn.
In the evening, at 18:30, university students held a procession from Town Hall Square to Freedom Square, followed by a ceremony with speeches at the foot of the War of Independence monument.
Resistance Day commemorates the fight for a free Estonia in 1944 and the Tief government’s idealistic actions and importance for establishing the legal continuity of the Estonian state. Resistance Day also raises awareness regarding the date on which the legal government of Estonia went into exile – 22 September 1944.
In his speech at the conclusion of the 39th Higher National Defence Course, Minister of Defence Jüri Luik emphasised that Estonia’s national defence model requires awareness by citizens and situational awareness by the state.