July 30th marks the 29th Independence Day of Vanuatu.
Vanuatu has a sad history.
I heard that the painful 100 years of colonial rule by the United Kingdom and France were beyond description.
I still vividly remember how depressed I got when I heard that the white sand beach had turned red with blood and the dead bodies during WW2.
In commemoration of the 29th Independence Day, a ceremony was held at the Vanuatu Independence Park. Unfortunately, the event got cancelled midway due to the intermittent rain.
There were no particularly exciting events this year, though.
Three shots of blank cartridge in front of the President like the previous year was the only ceremony that grabbed the people’s attention.
The official name of the ceremony is this:
<Trooping the color & Flag raising ceremony by the Vanuatu mobile force on the 29th anniversary of independence>
Quite long, huh?
Let me share with you the video clip of the ceremony.
I felt proud that a mere blogger could participate in the independence ceremony of a nation and record the whole thing. The police was controlling the traffic around the park. I always introduce myself as a photographer and drive my way in. Vanuatu police are very collaborative when it comes to photo shooting.
Anyways… The ceremony had already started when I arrived at the site.
You can see diplomatic mission of various countries.
“Present arms!”, the command given in blaring voice.
The President and officials make a salute.
They march at their best efforts despite the rain.
Vanuatu citizens watching the scene.
Highlight of the day – Blank cartridge shots to celebrate the day. Three shots fired into the air above the stage where the President and the guests from home and abroad are seated. This scene puzzles me. Shots right in front of the President?
Isn’t it better to shoot fire facing the other side? I guess this is cultural difference.
Nevertheless, the shots left the Vanuatu people happy.
The shots are followed by a hymn of celebration before the flag hoisting ceremony.
The national anthem of Vanuatu fills the air and the flag hoisting ceremony begins.
The leaders of Vanuatu pay respect..
The commemorative speech by the Prime Minister. Although Vanuatu adopts a presidential system, the Prime Minister is in charge of running the country.
The speech turned out to be a bit boring because it was too long and a woman solider who was not feeling that well fainted.
I hope she doesn’t get punished.
I spotted some handsome soldiers while taking the pictures. The Vanuatu solider wearing the beret looks like Jean-Claude Van Damme, while the navy wearing the white uniform looks like the guy in the movie ‘Leon’. I don’t know if you remember him J
After the ceremony, the high-ranking officials of Vanuatu, the Defense Adviser South Pacific and other officials line up for a photo.
Many thanks to the Vanuatu soldier and the police for their best efforts despite the rain. And congratulations to Vanuatu for its 29th anniversary!!