Happy 45th Independence PNG

Editorial

TOMORROW, Papua New Guinea celebrates 45 years of being independent.
On that date Sept 16, 1975, PNG’s flag raised at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium.
The Australian flag was lowered the previous sunset on Sept 15, 1975.
David Marsh, chairman of the Papua New Guinea independence celebrations in 1975 explains: “I selected Sir Hubert Murray Stadium for the flag lowering, as it was the closest possible place to Hanuabada where the British flag was first raised in 1884.”
The PNG flag depicts the Southern Cross; in the fly, a raggiana bird-of-paradise is silhouetted.
The design was chosen through a nationwide design competition in early 1971.
The winning designer was Susan Karike Huhume, who was 15 at the time.
The five stars symbolise the constellation the Southern Cross, representing the stars Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon, which is smaller because it doesn’t shine as brightly as the other stars.
Red and black have long been traditional colours of many Papua New Guinean tribes.
Black-white-red was the colour of the German Empire flag, which had colonised New Guinea prior to 1918.
The bird-of-paradise is also found on the national coat-of-arms.
The streets are littered with the red-yellow-black colours.
Yes, while some continue to find fault with government leaders and policies, you can feel that depth of feeling shared by many Papua New Guineans. One can already see family celebrations that seem to be the order of the week in many provinces.
In an average street of small houses, we noticed PNG flags in windows, strings of small pennants fluttered from garden shrubs and along roof guttering.
One house boasted a huge PNG flag, sturdily mounted, the folds of fabric blazed colour in the morning sun.
We watched and witnessed different activities to mark this anniversary, and saw in them the inherent goodness of our people, their simplicity, and their sense of marking a day of importance in their lives.
Papua New Guinea is an island of high mountains, of sunlit palms and coral sea.
While the drums are beating, our people are singing.
For our land is strong and free.
Yes, we are free.
We are reminded of how our country is free, free of dictatorship, free from foreign occupation and free from the threats of invasion and military domination.
We are free to elect our Parliament, and the members of that body are free to govern this nation in ways in which they see fit, guided at all times by our freely-created constitution.
We are born with a vast network of tribal beliefs and customs, the inheritance of countless generations of ancestors, whose strengths give pride and a sense of belonging to a place and a time.
We have an abundance of the good things in life.
We recite our pledge: “We, the People of Papua New Guinea, pledge ourselves, united in One Nation.
We pay homage to our cultural heritage, the source of our strength. We pledge to build a democratic society based on justice, equality, respect and prosperity for Our People. We pledge to stand together as one people, one nation, one Country.”
PNG has sailed through rough high seas, low seas, smooth seas, no one said it was going to be an easy ride but she has come this far.
Happy 45th Independence Papua New Guinea!

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