Mr. Speaker, today is the 86th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of Estonia. The Republic of Estonia was founded on February 24, 1918, when the Salvation Committee declared the republic's independence.
This date was celebrated as the date of independence until the Soviet occupation of Estonia in 1940. During the Soviet occupation, Independence Day continued to be celebrated by Estonian communities around the world.
As the hope of restoring the nation's independence grew stronger in the late 1980s, the people already began to celebrate the day of independence publicly before the end of the Soviet occupation.
On February 24, 1989, the red flag of Soviet Estonia was replaced by the blue, black and white Estonia national flag on Toompea, and since that time independence has been celebrated once again as a public holiday.
I would like to offer my congratulations to President Rüütel, the Estonian parliament, the people of Estonia and Canadians of Estonian descent on this momentous occasion. Elagu eesti .