– There can be no better location to remind us all of the obligations of our various nations of total support within the Alliance of NATO than here in Tallinn, Estonia. A very real threat to peace, to the stability and national safety which endures here.
With these words the CIOR President Colonel Chris Argent (Retd.) began his speech to mark the opening of the 2019 Summer Congress for CIOR and its sister organization CIOMR – which represents the interests of the Alliance’s medical reserve officers.
– We are proud as nations to support our Estonian friends and colleagues, those of us who have the comfort of illusory distance from the threat, said Colonel Argent.
Wreath laying ceremony with CIOR and CIOMR presidents at Estonian memorial for ‘victims of communism’ in Tallinn, Estonia. Photo: Banu Syvertsen.
National delegates gathering behind their flags before the official opening ceremony starts. Photo: Lt Col Roy Thorvaldsen (R), Norwegian Army/CIOR Public Affairs.
The host nation’s speaker during the opening ceremony was Major General Indrek Sirel, deputy commander of the Estonian Defence Forces. MajGen Sirel spoke warmly of the importance of reservists in the defence of his country:
– The Reserve component is the most important portion of our defence. We can share our experience, and we are looking for others’ experience (on) how to use reserves.
Major General Indrek Sirel, deputy commander of the Estonian Defence Forces. Photo: Arvet Mägi, Virumaa Teataja.
– It is symbolic that you start the congress at the place that reflects the sacrifice that
Estonian officers made for their country (the memorial for victims of communism). However, it also reflects the consequences of some decisions that (our government/society) made at that time (not to fight the Soviet military occupation and annexation in 1940). I remind you of reserve officers as an integral part of society have a vital role in forming such decisions today, MajGen Sirel said.
The opening ceremony was followed by an Estonian national evening reception.
The first working day of the CIOR/ CIOMR congress is Monday 5 August.