TALLINN - President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Olympic medalist Gerd Kanter last week met with six Estonian soldiers who were gravely injured in Afghanistan and are being treated at the Headley Court rehabilitation center in the United Kingdom, reports LETA. “During the days when we are speaking a lot about the major accomplishments of our Olympic athletes, we are not to forget those who keep the Estonian flags high on the battlefields,” said Ilves. “You are heroes who deserve the State’s particular support, and support and understanding from the entire society,” said the head of State.
Ilves thanked the United Kingdom as Estonia’s ally at the NATO operation in Afghanistan for providing modern and successful treatment and rehabilitation options for injured members of the Estonian Defense Forces.
“This will make the future lives of our soldiers much easier while dealing with their injuries, and it has also helped develop a similar system in Estonia,” said the president.
Olympic medalist Kanter encouraged the soldiers to get on with their lives boldly despite their injuries, and perhaps even in defiance of the injuries.
“We have some things in common: in addition to training, you and I also need a lot of faith in ourselves and then we will be able to do quite a lot on the ‘third attempt,’” said Kanter. “I am proud that Estonia has such soldiers,” he added.
Ilves and Kanter gave Estonian members of the Defense Forces the track suits of the Estonian Olympic team. Since 1995, nearly 2,300 members of the Estonian Defense Forces have taken part in various foreign missions. 130 of them have been injured in battle, 34 of them have sustained grave injuries.