Samoa shows pride and passion in celebration of freedom
All is well that ends well. Fifty-seven years after Samoa’s flag of freedom was hoisted for the first time at Mulinu’u, Samoans from all walks of life continue to celebrate the occasion with pride and passion.
Such pride was strongly evident once more this year when thousands and thousands of Samoans and non-Samoans celebrated Flag Day during the weekend.
It started on Friday night when the nation’s leaders attended a thanksgiving service held at the Mulivai Cathedral to officially open the celebration. It was led by the former Chairman of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa, Reverend Elder Tautiaga Senara.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi welcomed all the special guests in a message printed on the official independence programme.
“At the dawn of this day in 1962, our nation came together as a family to celebrate its first Independence Day,” Tuilaepa said.
“The tears of joy and contentment were beyond explanation as we set our eyes on our national flag and sang it unity our national anthem “Samoa Tula’i ma sisi ia lau Fu’a, o lou Pale lea”.
“Such a moment continues to echo in our humble hearts and minds as we are gathered once again to commemorate the 57th Independence Anniversary of Samoa.”
Tuilaepa added that the occasion calls for the remembrance of the “sacrifices, prayers, wisdom and foresight of our forbearers who strived for our freedom.”
On Saturday morning, thousands and thousands showed up as early as 4am for the annual Flag Raising ceremony at Ti’afau.
There, Tuilaepa’s message was echoed by the Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleli’ifano Va’aletoa Sualavi II, during his address to the nation.
“For every Samoan, whether living at home or anywhere else in the world, June 1 is sacred. It is a celebration of our sovereignty,” his Highness Tuimaleali’ifano said.
“We fly our flag with joy and enthusiasm in workplaces, schools, homes and neighbourhoods as it is a symbol of our national pride. It is a constant reminder of our striving and our self-belief.
“It is a day to look back with satisfaction and gratitude for what we have been able to achieve due to the efforts of successive generations of our elders. And it is a day to renew our resolve to fill the gaps that still remain in our nation building initiatives - gaps that we aspire our talented youth, with our support, will no doubt fill.
“We thank God for all the accomplishments and milestones that have been achieved over this past twelve months. Our infrastructure is improving with the commissioning of the aerobridges for the new airport terminal and the Tui Samoa cable, both historic achievements for Samoa.”
The Head of State also acknowledged the Government for the work it is doing to improve the development of Samoa.
“Our infrastructure is improving with the commissioning of the aerobridges for the new airport terminal and the Tui Samoa Cable, both historic achievements for Samoa,” he said.
“A major facelift for Apia is fast evolving through the Waterfront project. Parliament conducted its recent Budget session in new premises and many other developments are work in progress. In this regard we extend our appreciation and thanks to our development partners, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, USA, A.D.B., World Bank, the United Nations, O.P.E.C., U.A.E. and the European Union and all those who have and are working extremely hard in the field to expedite implementation including regional organizations.
“I wish to also acknowledge some examples of the contributions of our citizens to our continuous drive for sustainable development. Our farmers and fisher folk grow food for our people and ensure food security and nutrition for our children. There is renewed determination to revitalise our exports. We assist our farmers by providing access to technology and other facilities for enhanced productivity and incomes.
“Our police force takes on a variety of challenges in fighting crime and law and order disturbances, ensure the safety and security of our citizens as well as engage in peacekeeping initiatives in volatile hotspots of the world. We support them through improving their professional and personal conditions.
“Women have a special role in our society and are deserving of equal opportunity and the security to fulfil their potential. As a nation and as a society we must ensure that they have the right and the ability to exercise their choices.
“Our young people, both boys and girls, represent the hope and optimism of Samoa. Today, we need to harness the unlimited human capital of our youth, by building capacities for skilling and scholarship; for technology, engineering and entrepreneurship; for creativity and crafts; for playing music and producing mobile apps, and for excelling in sports. Furthermore, we need to generate ‘decent work’ in country and utilise the opportunities offered through labour mobility schemes.
“We acknowledge also the significant contribution to nation building of the private sector and in particular the small and medium enterprises which are the backbone of our economy. Similarly, our government would struggle without an educated, strategically skilled, innovative and accountable public service.”
There was plenty of traditional entertainment. They included songs from Lotofaga and Salailua and dances from Toamua and Satapuala.
Among the VIP guests for this year’s celebration were the Head Titular Head of Tokelau, Kelihiano Kalolo, American Samoa’s Lt. Governor, Lemanu Peleti Mauga and the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga. A relative of the late John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, was also present.
The official celebration on Saturday was closed by the Join Chairperson of the Independence Committee, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i.
“We pause to acknowledge the grace of God that never ceases to amaze us in our journey as an Independent State. We accord significance to the essence of this momentous event, every year to remind us of the challenges, the blessings and our identity as Samoans,” Afamasaga said.
“On behalf of the Hon Prime Minister as chairman and the Organising Committee, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to all our special guests who have joined the celebrations this year in the midst of your busy schedules as leaders of the Pacific and in different parts of the world.
“Thank you indeed for gracing us with your presence and we hope that you have enjoyed the hospitality and the richness of the Samoa culture portrayed not only in the performances today but also throughout the duration of your stay.
“We acknowledge with gratitude members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of our partner organisations who are here with us. Thank you very much for joining the celebrations.
“We wish to also thank all those who participated in the march parade this morning and the cultural performances. We thank you for putting on a great show and for showcasing our unique Samoan culture and traditions.
“In closing, I wish all our distinguished guests a safe journey. We hope that you will take with you fond memories of our warm hospitality and our culture.”
The celebration continued into the night with other events scheduled including the Life Con and the Independence Ball.
A public holiday was declared for Monday.
One of the most popular events on the public holiday was the Car Show organised by the V8 Club at Tuana’imato.