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The President of the Republic unveiled a memorial statue to Aleksander Tõnisson

President Rüütel today attended the unveiling of a memorial statue to Aleksander Tõnisson on the Central Square of Jõhvi where also a ceremonial parade of the units of Jõhvi Garrison was held.

Talking at the opening ceremony, the President of the Republic said that the scope of General Tõnisson's activities had been very extensive, and there were various memorials dedicated to his work at different places all over Estonia. "He laid a base for creation of Estonian Defence Forces. Returning to his homeland after participating in the Russo-Japanese War and in World War I, Aleksander Tõnisson formed the First Estonian Regiment. The victory in the War of Independence was largely forged on the Viru Front under his command," President Rüütel said.

The Head of State recalled that Aleksander Tõnisson had been a high-ranking politician who had been a Minister of War as well as a Minister of Defence, and had participated in the designing of Estonian defence policy.

"It is very fortunate if new generations could build their life on a firm foundation created by their predecessors, and could be happy living in peace time," the President of the Republic said unveiling the statue.

Before the unveiling ceremony, President Rüütel and Mrs. Rüütel visited the former Edise Manor, which had belonged to Aleksander Tõnisson, and had been presented to him for his distinguished service in the War of Independence. The General's son, Leo Tõnissson introduced the manor house to the President.

Following the unveiling ceremony, Mayor Aavo Keerme received the President of the Republic and Mrs. Ingrid Rüütel in the chambers of Jõhvi Municipal Government.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, June 19, 2005

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