Pictures: A giant Estonian flag on display by the Tallinn TV Tower

For the Estonian Day of the Restoration of Independence, there is a giant Estonian flag on display by the Tallinn TV Tower; the flag, called “the Colours of Freedom”, was made from photos taken by 1,136 people.

The flag, owned by the Estonian Museum of War, will be on display from the afternoon of 19 August until the evening of 20 August. In addition, during the family day of the Tallinn TV Tower, people can see military equipment from NATO allies and the Estonian Defence League.

“The campaign, “the Colours of Freedom”, called upon people to notice freedom, to contemplate it and to show what it means for them. Freedom, even today, isn’t something that should be taken for granted and, on the Day of the Restoration of Independence, its suitable to take this flag to the public. A big bow to the Estonian people who help keep freedom and carry its meaning,” a vice secretary-general of the Estonian defence ministry, Susan Lilleväli, said in a statement.

The photoflag was a gift from the defence ministry to the Republic of Estonia on its 100th birthday, in 2018, and it has been in the public view twice before. The photos were printed on an eighteen by seven-metre (59 by 23-foot) fabric.

TV Tower’s role in the restoration of independence

Estonia regained its independence from the Soviet Union on 20 August 1991 – during the attempted coup d’état in Moscow – and the date is annually celebrated as the Restoration of Independence Day.

In the evening of 20 August 1991, when Estonian politicians declared the nation’s independence, the Soviet paratroopers were taking charge of the Tallinn TV Tower, preparing to cut off communication channels.

Soviet soldiers surrounding the Tallinn TV Tower on 20 August 1991. Photo by U. Ojaste.

The fate of Estonia was on peril. Yet, most Estonian politicians and the greater part of the public showed great resolve in the face of this danger. Estonian volunteers surrounded the TV Tower and wouldn’t let themselves to be intimidated by the Soviet troops. 

On the morning of 21 August, Soviet troops managed to occupy the tower and transmission was temporarily disrupted. But by the afternoon of the same day, it was clear that the coup d’état in Moscow had failed – and after talks with the Estonian leadership, Soviet troops abandoned the TV Tower and left Estonia.

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