22 Jun 2010
We won the War of Independence thanks to the bravery of our soldiers and our self-confidence. Without self-confidence, it would have been impossible to fight on several fronts and with several enemies. It would have been impossible to win the War of Independence.
Now that Victory Day is approaching, it is our duty to remember with gratitude our friends who supported Estonia in the War of Independence and who fought for a democratic and free Estonia by our side. Their help and support boosted our own self-confidence.
Estonia had to defend its independence in a very difficult situation: our country had been devastated by the First World War and the German occupation had recently ended. To defend our country, we needed supplies and weapons. But we also had to feed our people and ensure the provision of health care in conditions of war.
In this regard, the support of the American Red Cross and the American Aid Administration was at times absolutely vital.
Our gratitude and respect belongs to the 43 citizens of the United States of America who received the highest award of Estonia – the Cross of Freedom – for their services in the War of Independence.
Yet we are also grateful to all the other Americans who supported Estonia during the war and appreciated our aspirations. Among them was Herbert Hoover, the then programme director of the American Aid Administration who later became the President of the United States of America and an honorary citizen of Tallinn. He organised the delivery of aid to Estonia as it defended its freedom in the War of Independence.
Thank you, friends and supporters!
Ilves at St. George's Church in Tori at the opening of the memorial tablet for the US citizens upon whom the Cross of Liberty was bestowed