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President of the Republic Eulogy to President Lennart Meri at Kadriorg 26 March 2006

Dear family and friends of Lennart Meri,
Dear fellow-countrymen,
Everybody remembering Lennart Meri all over the world!

Flags at half-mast, we bow to pay tribute to an outstanding Estonian and a Great European whose journey of life has come to an end.

Lennart Meri became known among people as a Traveller. Travelling was his passion and calling, a significant component of his restless nature and charismatic behaviour. Travelling – it was freedom and hobby combined, developed into a comprehensive and multilayer creative work.

Embarking on travelling, people usually need points of reference to help them to bring their trip to an end at the time and in the place selected. Lennart Meri was free of such a restraint. He had a gift, which few would have – courage and ability to move simultaneously both in time and in space.

As a historian, he could give meaning to the past; as an explorer, he could learn culture of remote nations and as a talented communicator, he turned his trips into events for the people he met abroad as well as for the people waiting for him at home. As a sensitive man of letters, he could shape his impressions into engaging travelogues about wind and ancient tales.

We have all been exposed to the brightest manifestation of his unique traveller’s spirit – to reach out to large numbers of people in his temporal life. He turned these brief encounters into memorable experience and myths.

Lennart Meri applied his unique skill to change the pace of time also as a statesman. His was a valuable contribution to speeding up the turn of Estonia’s life for the better. He perceived the multiple-choice present of his people as a contrast and compensation for the sinister historic events of his youth.

As a president, Lennart Meri believed in the ability of personality to shape the history as well as into small countries playing a special role in today’s world. Steadfast and charismatic, he made others have confidence in him and in Estonia.

The Great Traveller has come to an end of his mortal path. From this location, from Kadriorg where he steered the development of Estonia for nine years, his path will take him to his final place of rest. However, Lennart Meri will continue his travelling in history. He will remain with us for ever. We will never forget him.

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