National Veterans’ Day in Helsinki
National Veterans’ Day is observed on 27 April, the day the Lapland War ended in 1945. Every year, the day is marked in cities and local authorities across Finland. In Helsinki, the programme traditionally features a memorial service at the statue of Marshal Mannerheim and wreath-laying ceremonies at the Heroes’ Cross and at Marshal Mannerheim’s grave at Hietaniemi Cemetery, followed by a reception for war veterans and their families.
About Veterans’ Day
The inaugural Veterans’ Day was celebrated in the Finnish city of Lahti on 27 April 1987. It drew a crowd of more than 10,000 attendees comprising both veterans and others of their generation, who continued to attend the commemorative ceremonies in great numbers in subsequent years too. Veteran’s Day quickly spread to Finland’s other cities and regions, and the events continued to grow in popularity, attracting 100,000 attendees across the length and breadth of the country. For the veterans, the day is an opportunity for reflection and remembrance, and it allows the nation to demonstrate its gratitude and support. The day was traditionally 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.