TALLINN - On Jan. 3, at 10:30 a.m., a minute of silence marked the armistice that started 93 years ago, paying tribute to the memory of those who fell in the War of Independence, reports LETA.
It was on Jan. 3, 1920, when weapons fell silent in the War of Independence as the ceasefire between Estonia and Soviet Russia took effect. The war was over, and Estonia was the uncontested victor.
To remember the events of 93 years ago, a ceremony was held at the base of the War of Independence Victory Monument in Tallinn, where Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu and Tallinn Secondary Science School pupil Karl Erik Lillo spoke and Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Archbishop Andres Poder led a prayer.
Defense Minister Reinsalu said in his address at the ceremony that in the War of Independence, Estonia fought alongside its allies and all of the people inhabiting Estonia. “The War of Independence proved that even a small country can triumph over aggressors with skillful action, bravery and allies,” said Reinsalu.
Tallinn Secondary Science School pupil Karl Erik Lillo noted the role of the 3,000 school-age soldiers. “It was they who were the first to take arms against the Red Army. Close to a hundred youths made the greatest sacrifice for Estonian freedom - their lives. Four of them were students at my school, the Tallinn Secondary Science School,” the pupil noted.
In addition to the ceremony held at the War of Independence Victory Monument, Defense Forces units and Defense League regional units laid wreaths at the War of Independence monuments all over Estonia. The armistice was also marked with the ringing of church bells all over Estonia, a minute of silence on radio programming and the horns of ships in ports.
The War of Independence lasted from Nov. 28, 1918 until Jan. 3, 1920 and ended in the full victory of Estonia. Estonia lost close to 5,000 soldiers with about 14,000 wounded. Among the nationalities who fought for Estonian statehood side-by-side with Estonians were Germans, Russians, Finns, Danes, Jews, Swedes, English, French and Americans.