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Finland unveils national memorial to commemorate Winter War

The memorial at Kasarmitori in Helsinki shows appreciation for the valuable input of veterans and others who participated in the war of 1939-40.

The national memorial to the Winter War was unveiled at Kasarmitori square in central Helsinki on Thursday.

He Who Brings the Light – the national memorial to the Winter War
Helsinki
November 30, 2017. He Who Brings the Light – the national memorial to the Winter War

The memorial was undraped by former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari. He said in his speech that Finns went through many serious crises during the first three decades of independent Finland.

"The Winter War was one of these crises, and has a unique character. Finns were united by their strong awareness that the struggle was about values, freedom, democracy and the existence of the rule of law," Ahtisaari said.

"With its multiple holes, the memorial is still standing and pays homage to the heavy sacrifice of safeguarding independence – the more than 25,000 Finns who gave their lives for their country," Sauli Niinistö, Finland's president, described the memorial designed by sculptor Pekka Kauhanen.

He Who Brings the Light – the national memorial to the Winter War
Helsinki
November 30, 2017. He Who Brings the Light – the national memorial to the Winter War

The memorial, which is called He Who Brings the Light, is made of stainless steel and its base contains 105 photographs of the Winter War.

The memorial project was initiated by the Winter War Association and the Ministry of Education and Culture. It is part of the Finland 100 festivities.

Finland's experience in the second world war was unique. In 1939-1940 Finland defended itself against an invasion by the Soviet Union in a conflict known as the Winter War, without allies.

Hostilities resumed in 1941 with what the Finns call the Continuation War. This time Finland fought the USSR as a co-belligerent of Germany, receiving aid and assistance up until an armistice with the Soviet Union in the early autumn of 1944.

Under the terms of that agreement, Finland entered yet a third conflict, the Lapland War of 1944-1945 to drive Nazi German forces from Finnish territory.

Yle.fi, November 39, 2017

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