Monday, April 26, 2010
Flag Day! Veterans' Day
Today is Veterans' Day in Finland with the main observance being held in Tampere. Veterans Day was first observed in Finland on April 27, 1987 as a celebration of Finnish independence.
Finland has mandatory conscription for all male citizens, about 25,000 conscripts annually. The figures from 2008 give the number of reservists as 25,000 with a maximum wartime strength for the Finnish Defense Forces of 350,000. The age of conscription is 18, but conscription can be delayed until you are 28. You can opt for civilian service or unarmed military service as well. Women can choose to do military service.
The pamphlet, "Facts about National Defense" , states that the goal of Finland's security and defense policy is to "safeguard the country’s independence and society’s fundamental democratic values and to promote the security, welfare and livelihood of all citizens against the impact of security threats."
Finland is not currently part of NATO, but does participate in UN peacekeeping operations. There are currently about 100 Finnish troops in Afghanistan. Earlier this month parliament approved sending 50 more troops to Afghanistan.