This time every year we celebrate our freedom with pride.
The COVID-19 pandemic has succeeded in halting some major events, but not the celebration of the birth of our country’s independence.
The main street from Tagabe area to Independence Park in Port Vila was thoroughly packed with people on July 23 for the Victory parade, a day of national pride.
It was a day full of excitement and sentiments as people filled the street to join the victory parade, in spite of diversity.
The national colors –Red, Green and Yellow stood out in the crowd.
Everyone came out in their best outfits that reflected the colors of the national flag, to express patriotism and love for the country on the day. That certainly made us proud to be Ni-Vanuatu.
People decorated their faces with the flag and some literally wrapped themselves in the flag. It gave a good feeling for our flag and free nation.
Multi-ethnic groups of diverse happy people held the national flag of Vanuatu. 40 years after independence, our Vanuatu that we love is home to a variety of ethnic groups that continue to enrich the country.
Young people, adult and the old were smiling and waving their flags.
Some people stood on the parade route to watch the parade went by while many went straight to the celebration site.
The parade honored some brave citizens who sacrificed their lives for the freedom that we enjoy today. Because of them, today we call our country a fee and sovereign nation.
This year’s victory parade will go down in history as the biggest ever in history since 1980. Schools were closed and some business houses, government and private offices since it was a public holiday.
The national flag was held high as the victory parade begun and led by the wife and families of the first Prime Minister (PM) of Vanuatu, late Father Walter Lini, from Tagabe area to ABM Manples where Mrs Lini handed over the flag to wife and families of late Donald Kalpokas (2nd Legislature).
The parade continued to AOG Tebakor where Maxime Carlot Korman and families (3rd Legislature) were waiting to receive the flag, then to Rialuth Serge Vohor and families (4rd Legislature), Barak Sope and families (5th Legislature), late Edward Natapei families (6th Legislature), Ham Lini and families (7th Legislature), Sato Kilman and families (8th Legislature), Moana Carcasses and families (9th Legislature), Joe Natuman and families (10th Legislature), Charlot Salwai and families (11th Legislature) and finally reaching the 12th Legislature led by the current PM Bob Loughman.
PM Loughman led the parade to the venue celebrations where custom ceremonies were performed before the week-long festivity declaration.
Chairlady of the National Independence Committee, Cherol Ala, thanked everyone for participating in the parade.
“We want to acknowledge every single person who participated in the victory parade. The energy and interest to participate has been extraordinary,” she said.
“We were blown away by the record number of participants and it was indeed a spirit of unity that unfolded in a unique way.
“It was a celebration of unity in diversity reflecting of national pride and sense of belonging. It is indeed a celebration for all- displaying democracy in participation,” she said.