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Finland salutes defence forces with official flag day, military parade

An estimated 1,600 participants from the Finnish army, navy and air forces, the National Defence University, the Border Guards as well as a number of veterans will take part in the parade.

Lippujuhlan päivän paraatin ohimarssi
Lippujuhlan päivän paraatin ohimarssi

A military parade in Helsinki on Saturday will mark the Flag Day of the Finnish Defence Forces.

The parade will include about 1,600 participants — from the Finnish army, navy and air forces, the National Defence University, the Border Guards and veterans — as well as more than 40 military vehicles and 14 aircraft.

In his official address to mark the occasion, President Sauli Niinistö invoked the "timeless" words of renowned Finnish General Adolf Ehrnrooth, who served during the Winter and Continuation Wars of the early 1940s, that Finland is a "country worth defending."

"An important foundation for Finland’s defence is the strong will of citizens to defend their country. It is now at a higher level than before," Niinistö said.

"We know and remember that Finland is a country worth defending. Together, we have ensured our security to date, and together we will also do the same tomorrow."

Niinistö also cited Finland's recent decision to apply to join the Nato alliance, adding that the move was a "natural step", and not a big leap in security policy.

"As Finland seeks protection, it is also ready to provide it. A defence alliance is a commitment in which one accepts responsibility for the security of all allies. Finland does not shy away from this principle; we take it seriously," Niinistö said.

The annual event has not been held since 2019 because of the Covid pandemic. The Flag Day parades have been held annually since 1952 and fall on Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim's birthday, Finland's most famous military leader.

Yle will broadcast the parade from 1.25pm on TV1, on Yle Areena, and via the video link at the top of this article.