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      Finnish Americans celebrate Finnish Independence

      Thursday was a special day for Finnish Americans and the U.P.

      December 6 marked the 95th anniversary of Finland's independence from the Russian empire. Thursday afternoon at the National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in Ishpeming, dozens of Finnish American residents and foreign exchange students gathered to celebrate the milestone. Various presentations were given, including a film and the singing of Finland's national anthem.

      "It is interesting that people were given the opportunity to sing it in English or Finnish, and I only heard Finnish sung, so it's nice that Finnish is still alive in that sense, that people can sing it and want to sing it," said Jim Kurtti, U.P. Honorary Council to Finland.

      Finland, of course, has a unique bond with the Upper Peninsula. Tough economic times in their native country brought many Finns to the U.P. to work in the mining industry. The U.P. is home to the largest concentration of Finnish Americans in the United States.