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The President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, on the eve of the Lasting Liberty Day on 26 March 2013 on ETV

The President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, on the eve of the Lasting Liberty Day on 26 March 2013 on ETV © ERR


"We do not need to rush our freedom."

What does this mean for me?
This is my soul's one demand of life,
Bringing it closer to me.

Approximately three generations of Estonian people embraced these words by Juhan Viiding.

I've always wanted to venture beyond.

Three generations of our people wanted to venture beyond. The time has now arrived. We no longer have the demand, the benchmark. Now, in response to to the deceased poet, we no longer know what it means, this one demand of three generations.

We should think about it; we should look into the mirror and ask: is this not really what we wanted?

To date even Hesiod, who is regarded as a pre-historian, and many after him, have spoken of and believed in the Golden Age – the bygone times, when everything was better, the grass was greener, men were more masculine, women more feminine and children were smarter. Although we are those very children ourselves.

If we consider the foreign policy or economy of Estonia, its freedom, of a state based on the rule of law, our security, we should realise that we have made it much, much further than ever before. And this is why – now we can admit it – the fears that we once had are groundless and there is no reason to assume that the second coming of our wonderful freedom will be shorter lived than the first.

Which does not mean that we should be happy with the current situation. Certainly not.

Now, thank God, venturing beyond is no longer the Estonians' only demand of life. Instead, this has become the main bane of Estonia – and we should understand that we are the only ones who can improve the situation. This is independence.

Actually, tomorrow will be a sobering day. While we cannot stop comparing ourselves to other countries that have always been free and to some who were not even affected by the war, feeling that we have been deprived of something, our wages are not as good, that life in other countries seems to be better, we should also recall:

where did we start when we made a fresh start, the second time?

This is why tomorrow – the day when Estonia will have enjoyed its independence longer than our nation did the last time – is more than a red-letter day. This is a day for banishing our fears; it is a day of hope.

We do not need to rush our freedom. The boundaries of freedom and liberty expand, and we can stride over this magic line, feeling happy and at peace. This is a day to be celebrated in peaceful, happy gratitude, which we feel, above all, in our hearts.

Thank you.