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Renewed: 13.10.2013, 00:35

16 December 2012 14:25

Brigadier General Terras: Defence League is based upon citizens’ free will

Brigadier General Terras: Defence League is based upon citizens’ free will Brigadier General Terras: Defence League is based upon citizens’ free will

Commander of the Defence Forces, Brigadier General Riho Terras’ speech on the occasion of the formal inaugural ceremony for the new commander Brigadier General Meelis Kiili of the Defence League at Tori Church December 16, 2012.

Respected Minister of Defence,

The elders and members of the board of the Defence League,

Brigadier General Kiili, Colonel Klettenberg,

Honoured guests,

The basic ideas of the functions of the Estonian military national defence are simple and clear – The task of the Defence Forces and the Defence League, with cooperation from our allies is to protect the nation of Estonia. 

The protection of the nation of Estonia is a task demanding  fidelity, honesty and courage. The daily implementation of this is largely based on personal values  of people who freely give of their knowledge, strength and time to assist national defence.

The Defence League is the strength and incorporated knowledge that motivates those individuals to work together in exercises with one goal, to have patriotism in their hearts and to be the best among us.

There is one individual in our history whose importance to the Defence League and to Estonia cannot be overestimated. This is Admiral Johan Pitka. In his memoirs, Admiral Pitka reminices that „Due to a well thought out and envisioned Defence League conception, and because the Defence League was able to develop stronger Estonian military sections, it became a very needed and strong force in the establishment of the Republic of Estonia.“ 

This idea is also pertinent in todays Estonia. Estonia is taking the next steps to better prepare for and grow in the direction of  a stronger defence.  On this road of preparedness the Defence League has an important role to fulfill. Those tasks that the Defence League have been assigned by the new National Defence Development Plan requires a very high standard of  management as well as the joint effort of the entire organisation. The assignment of the Estonian militia means even better training for the Defence league and a need to increase the size and  strength of the ranks.

The history of the Defence League after re-independence has been one of searching and change. There are those that consider this as weakness. But that is not the case. The Estonian Defence Forces and the Defence League have grown and developed with the nation of Estonia. Changes are desperately needed to be in tune with the times. Changes are needed to better ones situation.

I want to thank Colonel Klettenberg, who has lead the Defence League during a time when all his attention and everyday efforts were required from him to ensure that the National Defence Development Plan and the laws and regulations of the  Defence League were properly instilled.

To the new commander of the Defence League, Brigadier General Kiili, I wish strength, common sense and perseverance so that the goals that the Defence League has set itself shall see fruition. I also wish that aside from the leading of the organization he will be able to plan for the future development of the Defence League. As I mentioned, change is not a sign of weakness but rather one of an ennobling higher purpose. Change is evolution.

Finally I want to share with you Admiral Pitka’s wishes as well as worries that additionally to the new and important tasks of the Defence League there would always remain „ a serious spirit and feeling for strong initiative.“ Patriotic spirit and initiative are decisive values that have existited in the Defence League throughout its history. Those values must be kept and appreciated. The central value of the Defence League is that a member of the Defence League is a citizen who of his own free will has agreed to guard our national defence. Only in this way can we  truly stay in touch with the concept between national defence and free will.

Thank you.

Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces, 717 1900, mil[at]mil.ee, Juhkentali 58, EE15007, Tallinn, Estonia.

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