Unity, peace and harmony

Fred Wesley | Wednesday, October 11, 2017
You could sense it in the air. Yesterday, was special.

The masses made it special.

Many Fijians turned out in blue yesterday to mark what is without a doubt a day that has a special place in our hearts.

When all things are said and done, Fiji Day is rich with tradition and holds many meanings for different people.

Yesterday was about celebrating our independence from Great Britain.

It was an opportunity for thousands of Fijians to embrace a great day with purpose.

It was an opportunity to be with family and friends.

Forty-seven years ago, Fiji cast aside the era of colonialism to embrace a new direction.

We finally had the reins to govern our nation, and chart a path forward together.

Over the years we have seen, experienced and lived through may episodes.

Many have proven beneficial for our great nation, and some have been bad for us.

We survived many natural disasters over the years.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston, a Category 5 cyclone was the most powerful of them all.

STC Winston swept through our country in February, 2016, killing people, leaving thousands homeless, and wiping out entire villages.

The impact of STC Winston's power and destruction continues to affect many people today.

Lives were changed, some forever. Families were torn apart and villagers left to rue their misfortune, and rebuild their lives.

We were fortunate to have international support. Countries such as New Zealand and Australia rushed in aid and personnel to assist us as soon as possible. Many other nations poured in support and came to our aid.

We lived through coups in 1987, 2000 and in 2006.

They changed many people's lives to a large extent.

We saw media censorship being put in place in 2009 and lifted in 2012, and the return of democratic elections in September 2014 after a lull of a few years.

As we head back to work today, let us never forget that we are Fijians.

We live in a multiracial country that is home to over 850,000 Fijians.

Yesterday was special for many reasons.

It allowed us to reflect on our journey as a young nation, starting on October 10, 1970.

As we move forward now, focusing on yet another election next year, we should never forget to look back at the years that have gone past.

They allow us to reflect, learn, appreciate and set a better future for us all.

We all can make a difference.

If there is something we should promote, it is to embrace unity, appreciate one another, and promote peace and harmony.

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