Victims of World War II remembered at Maarjamäe
The end of World War II in Europe and the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation – in remembrance of all those who lost their lives and suffered during the war – were celebrated today at the Maarjamäe Memorial.
Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna spoke at the ceremony, saying that World War II left no nation in Europe unscathed, and that representatives of many nations also lost their lives in Estonia.
“Today, we commemorate and remember those who lost their lives in that horrible war. Today, we must do our best to ensure that such horrors are never repeated,” said Minister of Defence Tsahkna.
The Minister of Defence recalled that when World War II began Estonia was alone, without allies, although now we stand together with our allies.
“Today we know that only together with our allies, sharing the same values, are we capable of preventing new horrors," said the Minister of Defence.
Minister of Defence Tshakna laid wreathes at the memorials on behalf of the Estonian nation. Wreaths were also laid by servicemen from member countries and representatives of non-profit organisations participating in the ceremony.
Paying homage to all of the victims of World War II, chaplains from the Defence Forces laid wreaths at the grave marker for members of the Red Army, at the Defence Forces Cemetery, and memorial to victims of Nazism, at Rahumäe Jewish cemetery.
The majority of countries in Europe remember victims of World War II on May 8.
On 7 May 1945, in Reims, France, representatives of the Allied Forces and German armed forces signed the unconditional surrender of Germany, which ended armed conflict in Europe on 8 May.
On 22 November 2004, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution concerning the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, with 8 and 9 May being declared days of commemoration and reconciliation. The resolution called on one or both days to be appropriately observed each year, and tribute to be paid to all those who lost their lives in World War II.