July 16, 2013

Thousands witness 35th independence celebration in style

WEDNESDAY, 10 JULY 2013 04:43

THE country on Monday formally celebrated its 35th independence celebration in style and colour.

Solomon Island gained its independence from Britain in July 7th 1978.

This year July 7th fell on a Sunday and the government decided to move the celebration to yesterday which was declared a public holiday nationwide.

In Honiara the celebration was staged at the Lawson Stadium based on the theme - ‘Equitable Development: A Framework for Peace and Reconciliation.’

As early as 6am in the morning people from all works of life converged into the national stadium to secure a good spot to sit and watch the ceremony unfold.

By the time the ceremony kicked off around 9am close to 20, 000 people including men, women, children and visitors packed the stadium to witness the celebrations.

For those in the provinces who cannot make it to Honiara, they joined in the ceremony by listening live radio commentary thanks to the national radio broadcaster – SIBC made it possible for them to listen to their radios and follow the entire program.

This year’s celebration was also special because it was graced with the presence of the Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Josaia Voreqe Frank Bainimarama and his delegation.

Last year the country was also honoured because it had the presence of the regional countries attending the festival of pacific arts.

Accompanying Prime Minister Bainimarama was the Fiji Military Personels and Fiji Police Brass band.

These officers also joined in the parade yesterday making it a little bit special than any other years because of their presence on the field which added extra colour and flavour to the parade ceremony.

Despite the mid morning heat, thousands braved the sun to witness the five hours program.

Most of the dignitaries were also present to witness the ceremony which kicked off with a general salute for the Fiji’s national anthem and inspection of the platoon parade.

This was followed by a Guadalcanal traditional welcome ceremony for the Fiji’s Prime Minister with the presentation of a ‘chupu.’

Following the opening prayer by Reverend Wilfred Kurepitu flag bearers then marched off to the eastern end of the stadium where the Solomon Islands national flag was raised.

The police band then played the country’s national anthem as the flag was raised slowly.

The country’s Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo then gave three happy cheers followed by the crowd for the government and people of Solomon Islands.

The sounds of the cheers echoed through the mid morning sky revealing the excitement of the people who turned up to witness the exciting and lively ceremony.

Just as the final cheer faded, hundreds of balloons in blue, green and yellow were released into the sky to the excitement of the crowd.

Prime Minister Lilo then delivered his national address followed by the announcement of honours and awards 2013.

Governor General Sir Frank Kabui was given the honour to present the awards to successful recipients.

The formal program concluded with a march past parade by the police and military platoons, boys scouts, girl guides and pathfinders.

The highlight of the closing was the performance on the ground by both the Royal Solomon Islands police band and the Fiji police brass band.

Members of the public watching the performance acknowledged the lovely sounds from both bands.

The presence of Fiji’s band also added much flavour to the ceremony yesterday with its heavy and deep sounds.

Even the little children were surprised to see the huge trumpets used by the Fiji brass band.

The Fiji’s visiting military band late yesterday also joined in the musical jam at the Lawson Tama stadium organised as part of the musical entertainment for the celebrations. 

A Honiara resident commenting on the celebration yesterday said having a close neighbour to be part of the celebration makes it special.

“We hope next year another regional leader from our close neighbour will be invited to be our guests like this year,” he said
By Moffat Mamu

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