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31st Anniversary Party: Independence Day
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Posted by:Jul 13th 2004, 04:16:57 pm
Fig Tree News TeamUndampened enthusiasm at 31st Independence fete
BY KEVA LIGHTBOURNE,GUARDIAN STAFF REPORTER

With flags waving brilliantly in the air and fireworks lighting the midnight sky, thousands of Bahamians converged on Clifford Park Sunday night, marking yet another milestone in the country's history.

The Bahamas' 31st anniversary of independence was celebrated at the annual Police Tattoo held at Clifford Park, that featured the Farm Road Marching Band and the traditional drill displays by military officers.

Under the theme, "Celebrating Our Youth," the festivities started with a two-hour ecumenical service where religious leaders prayed for the youth and the continued prosperity of the nation.

And even though the celebration took place a day late due to the inclement weather, the display of solidarity and national pride of those present never wavered or diminished.

In attendance at the ceremony were: Prime Minister Perry Christie and Mrs Bernadette Christie; Governor-General Dame Ivy Dumont and Reginald Dumont; Deputy Prime Minister Cynthia Pratt; other cabinet ministers, senators, and other government religious leaders, including president of the Bahamas Christian Council, William Thompson.

The traditional police tattoo began with Governor General Dame Ivy Dumont inspecting the Guard of Honour drawn from various departments within the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Her Majesty's Prison, the Department of Immigration, Road Traffic and Customs.

Apectators enjoyed a firearms drill display and performance by the Police Motorcycle section, the Mobile Unit, and the Women's Branch of the Fire Department.

Arguably, the best performance of the evening came from the Police and Prison Canine Unit, drawing applause and laughter from the thousands of spectators as the dogs ran after and caught persons posing as criminals. The highlight of their performance however, was when one of the dogs drove through the Commodore Davy Rolle Castle and onto the field, stopping at various intervals.

The night concluded with a dazzling display of fireworks.

Thirty-one years ago a new nation was born. Today, a history has been constructed that Bahamians from all walks of life must be proud of.

Under the watchful gaze of thousands of Bahamians, the Union Jack was lowered and the black, aquamarine, and gold-coloured flag of an independent Bahamas was hoisted for the first time.

The Bahamas was now a sovereign nation! Freeing itself from the stronghold of the Crown Colony of Britain, in place for 250 years, The Bahamas had finally gained its own identity - constructing its own national symbols, certainly a composition of things indigenous to this nation.

And now today, The Bahamas though small, has developed a solid reputation as a mature, international financial center, a fabulous vacation destination, and serves as a model to other countries.

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