Well done, Samoa, another glorious celebration

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 02 June 2017, 12:00AM

So there you have it. Another glorious celebration is done and dusted.

Yesterday arrived quickly and like a breeze, we sit here today with nothing but plenty of photos on our smart phones and memories to share.

Everyone will have their stories to tell. From the young ones to the oldest of them all, this nation celebrated her 55th Independence Day with much pride, plenty of passion and the fanfare we are used to seeing on days like this.

Looking at what unfolded in front of the government building, what a marvelous occasion it was. 

Dare I say that apart from the fact Mulinu’u is the historical home of the independence, having it on Beach Road in front of the government building makes perfect sense. Something that should perhaps be considered in moving forward.

With the thousands of people in attendance, there was one thing that cannot be denied. We are a nationalistic lot. 

Yes we may have different views, beliefs and we might disagree on a few issues now and then but when it comes to matters that are close to the heart, such as the celebration of our ancestors fight to gain independence, we all share the same passion, vigour and pride.

Indeed, such showing of pride in ourselves; culture and country was strongly evident. At the crack of dawn, thousands had gathered to take their place in the highlight of all independence celebrations, the march past. 

The marchers ranged from babies, children to seniors – many of them having made the trip there at 5am. Decked out in their different colours, they represented Samoa of the past, today and what this country would look like in the future. 

For many people, it was a wonderful opportunity to reacquaint with old friends and believe it or not some family members. 

For some, it was an opportunity to fly the flag once more for their old school or a group they once belonged with pride.

But the celebration was not confined to Beach Road. There were mini celebrations right across the country with reunions of sorts organised here and there. Families gathered, church groups united and so forth.

What’s most wonderful about these celebrations is that they are held in such remarkably peaceful conditions. While countries near and far are torn asunder by strife and wars, there is absolutely no doubt that here in Samoa there is much to celebrate. 

We say this because with all our problems, as a nation we have come a long way. Indeed despite our faults, we still enjoy a very peaceful existence, something many people around the world can only dream of. 

Which is why we should be deeply grateful every day we wake up to smell the fresh flowers and the aroma of life – and every time we get to celebrate independence. We shouldn’t take it for granted.

Indeed, there is plenty of life in Samoa for us to enjoy. 

Not only have we such beautiful and tranquil environment to enjoy, our survival does not need to depend on anyone else. 

I guess you can say our destiny is in our own hands. We are not only blessed to live on such fertile soil, we enjoy a peaceful country relatively sheltered from bloody wars, strife and troubles of our neighbours near and far. 

What’s more, our culture of respect, love, va fealoa’i, and our Christian values provide the pillars upon which we stand as a nation. They are unique and they set us apart from the rest of the world. 

When it comes to education, we can hold our own against the rest of the world. More and more Samoans have graduated from tertiary institutions all over the world with some of the most prestigious qualifications in the world.  

And we don’t need to tell you about our sporting achievements. They are written everywhere for the world to see. These are things to be proud of. 

Speaking of sporting achievements, Samoa is tonight hosting a first in terms of rugby. Not only that it is the first Super rugby game on these shores, it will also be the first match to be played under the lights when it kicks off at 8.30.

The Auckland Blues and Queensland Reds clash has added another dimension to this year’s celebration. The fact that so many of the players with Samoan connections are taking the park tonight is exciting and should make for a very interesting game.

A number of these players are All Blacks, Wallabies and Manu Samoa stars. It doesn’t get any bigger than this for Samoa. While many more quality players – especially from the Blues – are being rested for the Lions, tonight’s match up should be a cracker and well worth a trip to the Apia Park.

Historically, the Blues should have the home advantage given Samoa’s long association with the Auckland team and the players involved. 

But don’t bank too much on that. The Reds have been in Samoa for a week and their willingness to engage with locals and visit schools have won them many new fans who will likely to change their colours for tonight.

Still, whatever colour you prefer, we know one thing for sure. It doesn’t get any better than sitting at Apia Park and watching all those players – like Quade Cooper whom most of us would love to hate – run out and play before us.

What a way to continue our Independence celebrations, we can hardly wait!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 02 June 2017, 12:00AM

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