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The President of the Republic celebrated the Day of Restoration of Independence with a festive concert

The President of the Republic celebrated the Day of Restoration of Independence with a festive concertToday, to celebrate the Day of Restoration of Estonian Independence a festive concert took place in the Rose Garden of the Office of the President of the Republic. The speech delivered by the President of the Republic runs as follows:

"Dear fellow countrymen,
Friends and guests of Estonia!

Today we celebrate the 14th anniversary of the restoration of our national independence. Although, a relatively short period of time has past, it seems like that epochal event happened way back in the distant past, as since then life in Estonia has changed unrecognizably.

Freedom of choice and activities within the framework of new political and economic opportunities has become a natural part of our everyday life. The feeling of being free is so natural and pervasive that we tend to forget what kind of life and living environment we had just a few decades ago. At the same time, young people, who know only free Estonia, have become active in many different fields.

The range of influence of those circumstances we had once lived in, inevitably reaches us today. It shows itself in the life stories, and it reminds itself through natural environment or through demographic situation. And this confirms the fact that every epoch and event has its own place in the series of factors that are influencing our world views and activities today. Seeing the relation between the past and the present helps us not only to better understand what is happening today, but also to design our future.

It is good to remember good things, but the wholesome picture should not become distorted through this. Sociologists claim that it is a current trend that social mechanisms, which link the individual's personal experience with the experience of previous generations, are falling apart. The young people who are influenced by such treatment of things, whish has no association with the past happenings, grew up as if they live in the everlasting present.

We can not disavow history and make it nonexistent destroying documents and monuments, nor rewrite history according to the preferences of the writer or in order to serve some short-time political interests. But doing so would take a toll on the society's cohesion, and we would disregard historical memory of people, and distort reality.

We can not change what has happened in the past. But we can complement and sort out our knowledge of the past. Self-reflection that has based on past experience allows us to see the future in the equal perspective.

We have started to talk more about our history. Hopefully it would lead to better understanding between our people, but also to better understanding between different nations, and would make us to understand that actually existing circumstances always restrict our choices.

When we talk about history, we should also think how unfair is the way of thinking according to which the right to write history has been reserved only to winners. But we remember that this could lead to bending the truth and creation of a total system of lies. Beside that, from a short distance it is often not possible to assess who is the actual winner. And sometimes the victory has been achieved at the price of injustice and enormous sufferings. If the supremacy established in such a way would be perpetuated in history books by the hand of the winner himself, the injustice would become even bigger and the understanding that the end justifies the means would spread.

The society has to face more and more new complicated tasks dictated by life and we cannot find solutions to those problems from the past. But neither can they be resolved drawing from certain times, different opportunities, and disavowing world outlooks. This would add living force to the destroying rather than creating element. We cannot build our future on negativism, be it then in family relations or in classrooms, in political discussions or in journalism.

Herewith I would like to recall that a year ago talking here at the same place I pointed out that Estonia do not need confrontation. Far more we need sense of responsibility and solidarity, which reflects the society's inner strength and stability and which is characteristic of the democratic world.

Today, I would like to reiterate a generally known fact that 14 years ago Estonia restored its independence without violence and victims. We achieved that thanks to all Estonian minded forces, to the consensus among our people, and the support of our friends. They all deserve our thanks and recognition. It is not possible to imagine objective history in any other way.

August 20, 2001 was a historical breaking point, which gave our people an opportunity and courage to have a look at our future, as well as our past, to be proud of our achievements, to talk honestly about our mistakes and to learn from them.

Let me congratulate all those present, the whole people of Estonia, and our friends abroad on the Day of Restoration of Independence! I wish that we appreciated and used wisely the possibilities that we have created in our state for ourselves and for our children."

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, August 20, 2005

© 2006 Office of the President l tel: + 372 631 6202 l fax: + 372 631 6250 l