TALLINN – To mark the 104th anniversary of Estonia on Thursday, blue, black and white national flags are to be hoisted on all residential, commercial and office buildings across the country.
Estonian flags will be hoisted at dawn or by 8 a.m. at the latest and lowered at sunset.
The national holiday kicks off with the raising of flags across the country. A flag hoisting ceremony to the tune of the national anthem at the Tall Hermann Tower at Toompea Castle in Tallinn is to start at 7:32 a.m. The event will continue with a speech by parliament speaker Juri Ratas, words of blessing by Archbishop Urmas Viilma, head of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the recitation of the Estonian Declaration of Independence by winner of Voldemar Panso Prize Maarja Mots. Choirs of the Estonian Male Choirs Association and the Tallinn police orchestra will also take part in the ceremony.
At 9 a.m., wreaths will be laid at the War of Independence Victory Monument in Tallinn by Estonian President Alar Karis, Riigikogu speaker Juri Ratas, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, commander of the defense forces Lt. Gen. Martin Herem and commander of the Kaitseliit (Defense League) volunteer corps Brig. Gen. Riho Uhtegi. A speech will be given by Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.
An ecumenical church service is to be held at St. Mary's Cathedral at Toompea at 10:15 a.m. by Archbishop Urmas Viilma and representatives of member churches of the Estonian Council of Churches.
The parade to mark the 104th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia will take place on Tallinn's Freedom Square at noon. Over 700 participants and 21 units of equipment will participate in the parade. Altogether 28 flags, four companies, 12 platoons, 15 squads and two orchestras will take part. After the parade march, those interested will be able to inspect the equipment of the defense forces and allies. The area of the equipment exhibition is limited, thus masks must be worn in the area.
President Alar Karis will give speech on the occasion of the Day of Independence at 7 p.m., followed by a gala concert at the Estonia Theater in Tallinn. The broadcast of the speech and the concert performance will be broadcast on the ETV television channel.
Estonia's independence was declared on Feb. 24, 1918, with the proclamation of the Manifesto to the Peoples of Estonia by the Estonian Salvation Committee.