National Veterans’ Day in Helsinki
National Veterans’ Day is observed on 27 April, the end date of the Lapland War in 1945. In addition to the official National Veterans’ Day programme organised in a different city each year, local authorities also mark National Veterans’ Day in their own way. The National Veterans’ Day programme in Helsinki traditionally features a memorial service at the statue of Marshal Mannerheim, wreath-laying ceremonies at the Heroes’ Cross and Marshal Mannerheim’s grave in Hietaniemi Cemetery as well as a reception for war veterans and their families, organised together with Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen since 2022.
This year’s reception will be held at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet at 2 p.m.
The Helsinki Garrison, together with the war veterans and the city of Helsinki, raises the flag and lays a wreath at Mannerheim Square at noon. This event is open to the public. At Hietaniemi Cemetery, the wreath-laying ceremony at the Heroes’ Cross and Marshal Mannerheim’s grave takes place at around 12:30 p.m.
About Veterans’ Day
The first Veterans’ Day was celebrated in Lahti on 27 April 1987. The event drew a crowd of over 10,000 attendees comprising both veterans and others of their generation, who continued to attend the commemorative ceremonies in subsequent years as well. Veterans’ Day quickly spread to other cities and regions, with local ceremonies soon drawing a total of around 100,000 people nationwide. Local events provided all veterans an opportunity to take part in the ceremony and experience the gratitude of the entire nation. Veterans’ Day was also marked in thousands of Finnish schools with assemblies, themed lectures and visits by the veterans themselves. Veterans’ Day is an official flag day in Finland.
In 2023, the official Veterans’ Day event will be held in Turku with the theme “Lessons from our wars – protection for our future”.