PRESS RELEASE DECEMBER 1, 1999
Government Endorses Anniversary Observance
At its meeting last night, the government`s members decided that the tradition to mark the end of the War of Independence with a minute of silence across the country should be observed, and that they will support the call by 60 members of parliament to mark that date moment.
Many delegates, both from the coalition and the opposition, signed the call on November 17, to observe a moment of silence on January 3, 2000, at 10:30 in the morning, in memory of the 80th anniversary of the end of the War of Independence.
The parliamentarians call states: January 3, 1920, was a long awaited day for the Estonian people. It marked the end of the War of Independence and the promise of the nation`s statehood with the start of peace negotiations. Every year thereafter at 10:30 on January 3, Estonians remembered those who had given their lives for freedom. The church bells rang across the nation, traffic stopped, workers at their stations paused, parades took place at defense forces units, and schools held assemblies.
This occurred every year until freedom was snuffed out. Ten years ago, on the eve of freedom again, the Estonian Heritage Society successfully organized the restoration of that tradition.
The government`s leaders are convinced that this worthy tradition, marking the silencing of guns, will be restored. They do not believe, however, that appreciation of history and the sacrifices made for freedom can be taught by coercion, and they leave the observance up to the individual conscience. The government hopes that the media will publicize the tradition of remembering that day in history by a moment of silence.