The National, Tuesday 18th September, 2012
By FRANK RAI
MORE than 15,000 people, clad in their favourite gold, black and red colours, took to the streets of Lae to celebrate Independence Day on Sunday.
The beating of kundu drums, the cadence of pipes and drums from the PNG Defence Force, salutations and the Guard of Honour by the combined disciplinary forces and the marching by students featured on the day to mark the 37th anniversary.
There was a huge sense of pride when the PNG flag was lowered and the reaction from the crowded Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium confirmed that while the streets too were packed as people turned out in numbers to add colour to the occasion.
Morobe Governor Kelly Naru, Minister for Youth, Religion and Community Development Loujaya Toni, Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc and Lae city mayor James Khay were among those present at the celebrations.
Naru delivered his independence message as the crowd cheered. He said it was a day for Papua New Guinea to celebrate as it had come through “rough seas”.
He pointed out the lack of service delivery in the province for the past 37 years, adding that it was time for Morobe to move forward under the new leadership.
Those spoken to in the crowd felt it was the best celebrations in Lae city and a mum among them said: “This independence celebration is one of the best celebrations compared with last year and the previous years. Everyone one is wearing our national flag uniforms (colours), flying their small flags and it is stunning.”
The occasion started at 8am with the marching of students in their school uniforms, raising of the flag, the Guard of Honour by the combined disciplined forces and speeches from leaders.
The day ended at 7pm to the sound of fire crackers at the Lunaman Hill at Top Town.