Picture and video: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The commemoration of Finland’s 102nd Independence Day began by hoisting the national flag at Tähtitorninmäki in an official ceremony in Helsinki on Friday morning.

The massive flag flapped in hard wind and umbrellas gave cover from the drizzling rain for the dozens of spectators who stood still and listened to the remarks of the speaker of the parliament, Matti Vanhanen, and the male voices of the choir, Viipurin lauluveikot. Their selection included “Siniristilippumme” (The Flag Song) and Jean Sibelius’ “Finlandia Hymn.”

“Let this flag that we hoisted today remind us forever that we have a free country where we are allowed to make our own decisions and a country that wants to cooperate internationally. Happy Independence Day to everybody!” Vanhanen concluded his speech.

Tony Öhberg