President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö and his spouse Jenni Haukio attended the traditional Christmas celebration at Kauniala Hospital on Friday, 9 December, 2022.
In his speech at the event, President Niinistö said that meeting with war veterans and members of the Lotta Svärd is an honour, even though this year it is happening at a dark time. “With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, war has returned to Europe. You understand the value of peace and what war means to people.”
According to the President, the legacy left by the war veterans continues to reinforce an exceptionally high will to defend the country. “We Finns have not relaxed in safeguarding our security.” In addition, he stated that, in challenging times, one can be proud of the Finns’ desire to help. “Many have sent aid to the front and others have welcomed refugees to their home districts, even into their own homes. Here at Kauniala, too, wounded Ukrainian soldiers have received rehabilitation. This is commendable work.”
In addition to the war veterans and members of the Lotta Svärd, the President thanked in his speech the dedicated staff of Kauniala Hospital. “In these times, we can be grateful that Finland is one of the most stable countries in the world. We succeed by trusting in our own strengths. It is up to the future generations to carry forward your, war veterans’, legacy. In this way, your memories and deeds will be borne far into the future.”
Kauniala was founded as a hospital for the war disabled in 1946. The number of disabled war veterans living permanently at Kauniala has declined to fewer than 10 people. There are 15 front veterans receiving round-the-clock care at Kauniala.
- President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö’s speech at the Kauniala Hospital Christmas celebration on 9 December 2022 (in Finnish)