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helmi 8, 2012

Another successful Rosvopaisti-event in Lantana

-Veterans please raise your hands! Twenty hands rose among the Rosvopaisti-guests. We honor you, heroes of our wars!

The yearly Rosvopaisti-event filled the ballroom of the Finland House (Suomi Talo) in Lantana. Nearly 500 people came to remember the sacrifices of Finnish war veterans and women’s auxiliary members, who had served during Finland’s wars for independence. Among them were twenty veterans of those wars. The grand event, as always, was organized by Floridan Karjalaiset (The Karelians of Florida). Over the years the event has become the largest private Finnish event in Southern Florida.

-Dear veterans and guests, if we do not remember the past, we can not understand the events of today and tomorrow, reminded 90-year-old war veteran and pastor Pentti Palonen as he welcomed the guests to the event.

 He reminded the audience of Finland’s battles against foes from the east like the Novogord Republic and Ivan III who took over in the 1470s.

-Because of these attacks by enemies, the city of Vyborg (Viipuri) received strong walls for defense, pastor Palonen, a Vyborg native, continued.

 Pastor Palonen also talked about times under Swedish rule and then becoming autonomous from Russian rule.

-Even though Vladimir Lenin accepted Finland’s declaration of independence on 1.4.1918, he was not sincere. He thought that a revolution would happen in Finland. This, as we well know, did not happen, Palonen noted. 

The keynote speaker of the night, vice chairman of the Finnish War Veterans of America, Ray Heinonen talked about Finland’s wars and the road to independence.-Vice Chairman of the Finnish War Veterans in America Ray Heinonen recounted Finnish war history, realizing that the wars were indeed costly, not only in lives lost, but also monetarily, for the small country.

 -After the announcement of independence the Russian forces in Finland made no effort to leave the country. Marshal Mannerheim ordered all Russian forces to be forcefully removed which was one of the precursors to the Finnish civil war in 1918, Heinonen pointed out.

 -During the civil war 36,000 Finns lost their lives, 23,000 died in the winter war and 63,000 in the continuation war. These wars were devastating for the small country. In the end 420,000 Karelians had to leave their homes and move elsewhere. When material losses are calculated into the wars, they cost Finland 300 billion in current dollars, Heinonen said.

 Veli-Pekka Heikka from Helsinki had arrived to prepare the event’s traditional meal of lamb cooked in an earth oven. The delicious lamb was served with mashed potatoes and carrots. The meal for the 500 person audience was served with the help of volunteers from the flying staff of Finnair and Karelians of Florida.

 Music was provived by choir group Korsukuoro from Vancouver and the Finnish ”Tango King” of 1992 Jaska Mäkynen. Mr. Mäkynen was accompanied by the Finnish Nelostie-orchestra. 

 The night ended with Karelians of Florida chairman Seppo Palokas thanking everyone for their hard work for the event. Greetings from the Finland House were brought by recently re-elected chairman Tapio Salin.