Today, we honor the heroes who stood up for freedom 20 years ago – without resorting to violence or aggression. On August 20, 1991, with Soviet troops descending on Tallinn, your Supreme Council declared the reestablishment of Estonia as an independent state. This heroic move gave Estonia back its freedom after 50 years of violent oppression and tyranny.
Reclaiming your independence without the use of force took great courage. But your accomplishments in the years since have been equally inspiring. You have continued to set an example for the world -- first negotiating the withdrawal of Russian troops, and then rebuilding after the damage of years of communist occupation.
Today, Estonia is a shining example for countries around the world yearning for democracy and economic opportunity. Your successes give hope to those in the Middle East and North Africa who are looking to fulfill their own aspirations and realize their own potential.
So as you celebrate this special day with family, friends and loved ones, please know that the United States stands with you – now as we have in the past – standing with you as an ally, a partner and a friend. We are committed to your future and we look forward to strengthening our already strong partnership in the years to come. Thank you very much.