The afternoon commenced with a welcome address by Madam Chairman, Sirje Jõgi. Followed by, the Flag Ceremony when Matti Kiviväli, our flag bearer, entered the hall whilst the choir and attendees sang Eesti lipp. A song that reiterates the meaning of the colours in the Estonian flag; blue, black and white still continues to stir the hearts and souls of the Estonian people. Then, a reading from the President's (Kersti Kaljulaid's) Speech by Sirje Jõgi concluded the preliminaries.
In continuance, an address by Raivo Rähni, who on behalf of AESL (Austraalia Eesti Seltside Liit) presented Matti Kiviväli with a Certificate of Honour (aukiri) in appreciation for his dedication and long-standing service to the Estonian Community. Whereupon, Sirje Jõgi on behalf of the Melbourne Ühing “Kodu” Committee presented Raivo Rähni with a Certificate of Acknowledgement (Tunnustuskiri) for his devotion to the preservation of Estonian activities and his continuance to uphold the Estonian national identity in Melbourne.
Our next speaker, The Hon. Consul of the Republic of Estonian, in the State of Victoria, Lembit Marder re-enlightened our knowledge of the Estonian peoples' unrelenting struggle for Independence.
After his speech, Lembit Marder, took a moment to introduce an extraordinary woman in our midst, Ingrid Morrison, who will be running in the Marathon des Sables (Marathon of the Sands) on the 7th to 17th April 2017, to raise funds for a non-profit organisation in Estonia for Estonian Women and Childrens' Support Shelter, the Pärnu Naiste Tugikeskus.
The Marathon des Sables is a legendary race. An event, which is classified as the toughest foot-race in the world. It is a 250-kilometre run, over 6 days through the torturous conditions of the Sahara Desert. On this marathon run, Ingrid Morrison, must be completely self-sufficient, and carry all her own food and equipment on her back for the duration of the race. Tents, provided by the organisers, will be erected each night at the end of each daily kilometre run. For some contestants, it may take longer to run the required quota for the day. Water is supplied, but it is rationed. Each morning Ingrid must take her daily water supply along with her on the run.
You can see more about Ingrid's massive challange on the internet: www.mycause.com.au/page/145394/running-for-abused-women-children
After Ingrid's introduction, Melbourne's mixed choir sang two patriotic Estonian songs, Sind surmani and Kaunimad laulud. These songs are, for the Estonian people, a proclamation of eternal love for the fatherland. The choir concluded the Independence Day Celebrations.
Children at the Independence Day Celebration and the after party had no time, whatsoever, to get bored, as Anneli Lill provided interesting activities for them throughout the event. The craft table area, where the children made paper hats was very popular, and the children loved to play with the balloons on the dance floor.
The Society members and their guest had an extra treat at the after party/mealtime, with live entertainment by singer Pia Maganov accompanied by guitarist Christopher McCabe.
Everyone at the event enjoyed a very relaxing and entertaining afternoon.