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Group photo in front of our monument at the Estonian Cultural Garden in Cleveland.  Photos by Toomas Tubalkain

Cleveland Estonians celebrated Võidupüha and Jaanipäev at the Estonian Cultural Garden. A beautiful Sunday afternoon for our commemoration.

 

Toomas Tubalkain was the emcee for this event, his opening remarks included:
Victory Day commemorates the final battle of the Estonian War of Independence and jaanipäev the traditional mid-summer celebration that has been intertwined with Victory Day.

 

The symbols you see in the Estonian Cultural Garden, the blue, black and white flag, the monument quoting from Kalevipoeg the words of hope for a free nation of Estonians and the American flag, are all positive reminders of how lucky we are to live in a time when our homeland is free and we are free to prosper in a nation that welcomed us and our parents as immigrants fleeing oppression after the Soviet occupation of our homeland after World War II.


We, in the US, were able to lobby and support the Independence movement in Estonia in the late 1980’s and early 90’s. Our immigrant community joined with other occupied lands in this endeavor and had our voices heard.

 

This garden, now 53 years old is a symbol, reminding us and Cleveland of the hopes and aspirations of the Estonian people. Just down the street are our brothers and sisters, the Latvian and Lithuanian gardens.

 

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Mrs Erika Puussaar, President of Estonian Cultural Garden with Toomas Tubalkain, secretary/treasurer of Estonian Cultural Garden and board member EANC.

 

These beautiful monuments introduce our homelands to the people of Northern Ohio and serve as a place for our groups to gather and celebrate our heritage.

 

Annually, we join with all of the gardens in the One World Festival, bringing together the diversity of our multi-ethnic community in a festival of tolerance, peace and understanding of our heritage.


Mrs Ingrida Bublys, Honorary Consul of Lithuania, was our keynote speaker. The event concluded with laying flowers at the base of our monument in remembrance of those who sacrificed for our independence.

 

Toomas Tubalkain,
EANC Board member, Estonian Cultural Garden Secretary and Treasurer

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