Estonia 100

Ambassador James D. Melville Jr. Congratulates Estonia on Centennial

Head Eesti inimesed!

On a February evening 100 years ago, likely cold and crisp just like today, the Manifesto to the People of Estonia was read aloud in Pärnu. The following day, February 24, the text was printed and distributed in Tallinn and beyond.

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.

These words speak to the core of the Estonian nation, just as they do to America. On July 4, 1776 the founding fathers of the United States issued a declaration of independence focused on many of the same things, including the oft-repeated phrase “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The United States and Estonia are linked — 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, 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! Palju õnne!