February 24th marked the one hundredth anniversary of the founding the Republic of Estonia.
The Estonian Declaration of Independence, also known as the Manifesto to the Peoples of Estonia, was drafted by the Salvation Committee elected by the elders of the Estonian Provincial Assembly.Originally intended to be proclaimed on 21 February 1918, the proclamation was delayed until the evening of 23 February, when the manifesto was printed and read out aloud publicly in Parnu. On the next day, 24 February, the manifesto was printed and distributed in the capital, Tallinn, and beyond.
In a message of congratulations to Estonians this year U.S. Ambassador to Estonia James Melville noted: “Contained in that declaration of an ‘independent and democratic republic’ are affirmations of inalienable rights that ring just as true today as they did a century ago.
“Equal protection under the law for all irrespective of religion, ethnic origin, or political views. The guarantee of all civic freedoms, freedom of expression, religion, assembly, association, to strike, and the inviolability of each individual and of the home.
“The United States and Estonia are linked, wrote Ambassador Melville, “by our shared commitment to democratic freedoms, our rock solid alliance, economic ties that bridge the Atlantic, and the many ties between our two peoples.”
“Over my nearly three-year tenure as Ambassador, I have traveled to every corner of your beautiful land. I have had the honor to meet with your nation’s leaders, be motivated by your innovative use of technology, and inspired by the energy and boundless potential of your young people. The future is so bright for Estonia, and I feel honored to have shared this land with you during my time here.”
“In this centennial year,” the Ambassador added, “I join all of my colleagues and friends from the U.S. Embassy in expressing our sincerest gratitude for your partnership and heartfelt congratulations on your 100th anniversary. Happy Birthday, Estonia!”