On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Finland on your national day on December 6.
The connections between our two nations date back to the first Finnish immigrants who journeyed to America centuries ago, making great contributions to our national and cultural identity. Today, some 700,000 Americans trace their origins to Finland.
From the hardships and wars that followed your independence, Finland has emerged as a world leader in telecommunication, scientific research, and innovation. The United States values our strong and dynamic ties with Finland as we work together on issues ranging from developing 21st century technologies and advancing environmental research to promoting international economic development and defending human rights. We honor the contributions of Finnish soldiers, police trainers, and development experts working in Afghanistan and with peacekeeping efforts around the world to help build a better, safer future for people everywhere.
I wish all the people of Finland a happy Independence Day celebration and look forward to further deepening our partnership in the years to come.