TT’s first Independence Day
Monday, August 31 2009
TRINIDAD AND Tobago became an independent nation on August 31, 1962. The first Independence Day celebration was a grand occasion.
In 1962, several events and festivities took place across the country from August 28 to September 5 to usher the birth of a new nation with the relinquishing of rule by Great Britain.
Today Independence Day in Trinidad and Tobago is commemorated by three main national events: a parade, a National Awards Ceremony and fireworks. The parades are held at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and at Scarborough in Tobago. The parades are military-styled with live instrumental music performed by members of the Protective Services (Army, Police, Fire, and Prison officers). The Parade features a 21-Gun Salute and is inspected by the President of the Republic in Trinidad and by the leader of the Tobago House of Assembly in Tobago.
On completion of the official part of the ceremony the contingents then march through the streets playing calypso music. Spectators line the route singing and dancing creating an atmosphere that is reminiscent of carnival. The National Awards Ceremony takes place in the evening and is held at the President’s House.
The Awards are presented annually to honour Trinidad and Tobago citizens who have made outstanding contributions to the nation in various fields. The Highest National Award is the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (formerly the Trinity Cross) other award categories are the Chaconia Medal, the Humming Bird Medal and the Public Service Medal of Merit, each are awarded in Gold, Silver and Bronze. The final major event of the day is the fireworks display which draws large crowds every year. The event takes place at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad and at the Port Authority Compound in Scarborough, Tobago.
People often assemble from very early in order to obtain vantage viewing spots. The Fire Service Division is responsible for putting on a spectacular display each year to the delight of the onlookers.