Today, on the 23rd of February, the Baltic Defence College family (BALTDEFCOL), both staff and students, gathered in a virtual conference room to celebrate Estonian, Lithuanian and BALTDEFCOL Anniversaries.
On 16th February, Lithuania celebrated their Independence Day. On that day, the Act proclaiming the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania was signed.
Tomorrow, on 24th February, our Host Nation Estonia will celebrate the 103rd Anniversary. 24th February marks the Anniversary of the Estonian Declaration of Independence in 1918.
On 25th February 1998, the Defence Ministers of the three Baltic states agreed to cooperate in officer education and signed an agreement establishing the Baltic Defence College, which was inaugurated in 1999. This year, the Baltic Defence College will celebrate its 22nd birthday.
During the virtual Celebration Ceremony, the BALTDEFCOL, Commandant Brigadier General Ilmar Tamm used the opportunity to quote Mr Lennart Meri, President of Estonia from 1992 to 2001 from his speech turning the Inauguration Ceremony of BALTDEFCOL in February 1999: “Security is precious and there is never too much of it. And small countries, such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, are often uncertain in their attitudes towards their own security. Overloud self-confidence is only too often accompanied by an arrogant shrug. This attitude is based on an illusion that there would be no point for a small country in spending its scanty resources on self-defence”. “So, we have spent a lot of efforts to get independence, regain independence and preserve it”, Commandant added. He continued with the quote by President Meri: “Security is indivisible wealth and must be cultivated in the spirit of close regional concord. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have the task to ensure, to the best of their ability, the security of the Baltic region, which is a necessary precondition to stability in Europe”. Brigadier General Tamm highlighted the importance and essence of the celebrations related to the Baltic states independence days, as actually, they celebrate freedom, independence and the security of the region. From the College perspective, the main task is to provide better education, invest in the human capital because whatever the College is doing, this is for the future and security of the region and beyond.
After the Commandant’s speech, Lithuanian Senior National Representative, Colonel Andriejus Grachauskas, the Director of Joint Command and General Staff Course and Civil Servant Course provided a historical overview of the path toward the Independence of Lithuania. He congratulated all the Lithuanians and Estonians on what they have achieved.
In light of COVID-19, the celebrations took place virtually. As our students are participating in education in shifts, half of them are within distance learning mode. To recognize the anniversaries the College provided each student and staff member a small cupcake and a soft drink allowing them to still take part in those important celebrations.