What February 24 Means to Estonia
Arvamus 23 Feb 2011  EWR
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Erkki Sivonen, Editor-in-Chief, ERR News
February 24, 1918 was the day when the Estonian Declaration of Independence, issued by the Maapäev (National Council), was printed and proclaimed in Tallinn.

"In the course of centuries, never have the Estonian people lost their desire for independence. From generation to generation, they have kept alive the hidden hope that in spite of enslavement and oppression by hostile invaders the time will come to Estonia 'when all splinters, at both ends, will burst forth into flames' and when 'Kalev will come home to bring his children happiness.'"

These opening lines of the "Manifesto to the Peoples of Estonia" still remind Estonians that independence was not handed down to them on a plate but was snatched from the teeth of then-powerful empires after centuries of staunch but also exhausting grassroots resistance.

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