Schools across Estonia celebrated Estonia’s 30th anniversary of the restoration of independence
At the end of the academic year, the Government Office organised appreciation events titled “For a free Estonia!” dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the restoration of Estonia’s independence in a total of 14 schools across Estonia in acknowledgement of the people involved in the restoration of independent nationhood and in remembrance of the historical events.
“I have a childhood memory of my grandmother telling me about her trip to England when she was young and I as a child in the Soviet Union could not imagine travelling wherever you want without a visa and registration. This is just one example,” said Prime Minister Kaja Kallas during a meeting with students at the Tallinn Pae Gymnasium.
“During the Soviet period, we did not have freedom or choices. This is why I know how to really value freedom,” added Kallas.
During the event at Paide Hammerbeck Basic School, the State Secretary Taimar Peterkop said that the sustainability of a state requires citizens who can think critically and know what being Estonian means to them. “Citizens who know, understand, and can value the story of our state. This is exactly why we need to share this story with the younger generation – so that they could carry on the spirit of those times.”
Lagle Parek, who held a speech in the assembly hall at of the Paide school, said that education is our freedom. “Life does not have to be simple and pretty. It is better to live an interesting life. The more educated you are, the more interesting your life is.”
“Nationhood, independence, freedom, relating to the society, and other similar things were a natural part in the minds of the students who came here 30 years ago, not to mention their parents. We were so personally and directly involved in the story. Unfortunately, it would be a mistake to presume that the students of today have the same kind of connection and frame of mind. It cannot be the same. It does not need to be,” said Auditor General Janar Holm at the appreciation event held at Kuressaare Gymnasium.
Holm said that it is the responsibility of today’s youth to use their lucky fate for furthering the state and the society. “And to develop one’s personal relationship with the state and society as interest in their functions helps to carry the responsibility for its future in a better manner.”
Jaanus Rohumaa, head of the working group for the 30th anniversary of the restoration of independence, said that the aim of the appreciation events was to explain the importance and introduce the events and key persons of the restoration of independence to the younger generation. “These events unite generations; out meetings so far have been interesting and fresh for both sides,” said Rohumaa.
Rohumaa noted that the wounds of occupation have healed over the past three decades and people view the events of restoration of independence with lightness at heart. “Food stamps, inflation, and the tanks of the occupying forces are looked back on with a mild smirk. Back in the day, however, it was quite an ordeal for the Estonian people.”
“The sense of unity people managed to create 30 years ago has brought us here. And I can say with confidence that the new generation carries the same spirit,” added Rohumaa.
He also said that the Government Office would like to thank everyone who helped to restore the independence of Estonia 30 years ago and also the people who have spent time on studying, explaining, and continuing the efforts of that time.
In addition to the Prime Minister, the participants in the events carried out in a total of 14 schools included Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna, Minister of Social Protection Signe Riisalo, several members of the Riigikogu, and members of the 20th of August Club, also Lagle Parek, Marju Lauristin, Tõnis Lukas, Ülle Madise, Kristina Kallas, Valdur Mikita, Taimar Peterkop, and Villu Kõve.
In addition to the great and entrepreneurial Estonian schools, the team of youth projects with Grete Radvilavicius and Madis Somelar also contributed to the success of the programme.
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