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The President of the Republic handed over state decorations

President Arnold Rüütel today handed over the 5th class Order of the White Star, the Medal of the Order of the White Star, the Order of the Estonian Red Cross, and the Order of the Cross of the Eagle to 206 individuals at the festive ceremony ''Estonia is Grateful'', which took place at 4 pm, at Kadriorg Art Museum.

''The society derives its vitality from its members. This is why we must not neglect life interests of people, everybody's wish to be happy and find engagement that enables self-realisation. The reward for this will be commitment of people that helps the society to achieve its goals. This is what makes Estonia to move forward,'' the President of the Republic said.

''You have earned state decorations as an expression of gratitude and recognition for your supreme aspiration to facilitate Estonia's progress. Following your calling and beliefs, by your excellence or bravery you have given Estonia the face it has today. Thank you for your high commitment,'' President Rüütel said.

President Rüütel congratulated all award recipients on receiving high recognition of the Republic of Estonia and wished them a happy Independence Day.

Orthopaedist Tiit Haviko, professor of Tartu University, who has earned the 2nd class Order of the Estonian Red Cross for his work, spoke on behalf of the honourees. In the words of Haviko, receiving a state decoration with the words: ''Estonia is Grateful'' is a significant event, and he, in his turn, expressed gratitude to Estonia for recognition bestowed upon him.

As this year President Rüütel hands all state decorations over personally, the festive ceremony ''Estonia is Grateful'' is held in three parts. This morning, the President of the Republic handed over the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th class Order of the White Star, and the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th class Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana to 208 individuals

At noon, on Thursday, February 23, at Kadriorg Art Museum, President Rüütel will hand over state decorations to 296 individuals whose activities have contributed to the restoration of Estonia's independence and reinforcement of the state, and the 1st class order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, and the 1st and 2nd class Order of the National Coat of Arms

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, February 22, 2006

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