TALLINN - Estonian defense personnel from the Scouts Battalion will march at Bastille Day military parade on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris on Thursday.
The Estonian delegation will consists of 14 members of the defense forces from the 1st Infantry Brigade. The Estonian flag will be carried at the parade by a flag unit dressed in a formal standard uniform and donning swords while the rest of the Estonian military personnel will be marching in their battledress, military spokespeople told BNS.
"For the Estonian military personnel, the Bastille Day parade provides an opportunity to demonstrate respect to their allied country's history and culture as well as show and feel a sense of unity, camaraderie and readiness to take action in a common direction and march to the same beat," commander of the Estonian unit participating in the parade Maj. Mario Lementa said, adding that seeing his troops and the flag of the Estonian republic in the composition of the opening unit of the parade makes him feel very proud.
The parade will open with a column formation consisting of the military personnel of nine Eastern European member states of NATO -- Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria -- with the allied states' flag units marching in front of it. Altogether 5,000 uniformed personnel will take part in the march, including members of the military, firefighters, police officers and cadets from military schools, 181 units of equipment and 200 horses. A flyover will be conducted at the parade by 65 aircraft and 25 helicopters.
The main theme of the Bastille Day parade this year is "Partager la Flamme" ("Share the Flame") as a tribute to the flame of the Resistance as well as the Olympic Flame since the French capital city is to house the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Bastille Day, or the French National Day, is the anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, a major event of the French Revolution. At the time, the Bastille represented royal authority in the center of Paris and was seen by the revolutionaries as a symbol of the monarchy's abuse of power; its fall was the flashpoint of the French Revolution.