Fiji celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence from Britain on Saturday, as leaders of the island nation urged Fijians to work together for a brighter future.
In the capital city of Suva, thousands of people gathered at Albert Park where the main celebration was held. They witnessed a military parade reviewed by Fijian President Jioji Konrote.
The playing of the national anthem and the 21-gun salute was emotional for many at the event, especially for the veterans that were invited to be part of the special ceremony.
Following the gun salute, there was a special flyover by the country’s national carrier Fiji Airways. An A350 Airbus plane flew across the island nation shaping out the number fifty.
In his message on the occasion, Konrote said that when Fijians stand together as friends, as family, as fellow Fijians, there is no challenge they cannot overcome. Together they have done great things and together they will do more great things in the next 50 years.
Meanwhile, Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said that Oct. 10 is a special day for all Fijians as the independence anniversary holds a special place in Fiji’s calendar.
He encouraged Fijians to be proud of the country’s achievements over the years, embracing togetherness and unity in a multicultural society.
As part of the celebrations, Fiji has launched recently the official song “Children of Fiji,” a commemorative 50-Fijian-dollar (about 23 U.S. dollars) banknote and a 50-Fijian-cent coin as well as a commemorative postage stamp.
Fiji, a South Pacific island nation with a population of around 900,000, gained its independence from Britain on Oct. 10, 1970.