President of the Republic of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves opens Estonian Song Celebration Dear singers and dancers dear people of Estonia Today is the day when all of us are here. We are all back again. Today is the day when none of us are alone. Today and tomorrow the entire country and nation is here – together, dancing and singing. Be it with their feet, mouth, eyes or thoughts. These are the days of our summer joy. The days to be together and to gain the power needed to go on and endure. The days of our breathing as one. These are the days of good, easy breathing. Let them also be easy in the sense of forgetting our everyday worries for a while. How can you listen to our most cherished songs with a furrow of concern on your brow? How can you watch gorgeous national skirts gliding across the green grass with gloom in your heart? No, this is pure joy! The importance of song festivals in the core of our existence cannot be measured. It can only be understood if you try to imagine being Estonian without it. We cannot do it – it is unimaginable. The meaning of song festivals and dancing has changed over time. We have turned ourselves into a nation through singing – an Estonian-speaking nation. We have freed ourselves through singing. With all our strength and perseverance we have sung against those who have tried to take our freedom from us. We have reminded them with unwavering conviction that we hold our fatherland dear. All of this has had enormous meaning. However, this time we can think that we are not singing or dancing to prove something to others, or to ourselves. We sing because we want to. We want to be together. The song and dance festival is all about doing something positive together. Here we are always for something; never again against something. The multitude of voices – in song and in life – is what makes us being together so dazzling and powerful, and forms a whole. That is what the immense enthusiasm that has brought tens of thousands of people together to sing and dance speaks of. And as we well know, the number of people who wanted to come here to dance or sing was far greater than these grounds could ever accommodate. Our summer festival tells everyone that we are a free people in a free country. Our song comes from the heart. Our dance comes from our love of life, and that is just as it should be! Happy breathing together, my dear Estonia!