New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) With huge pride and love for the nation, thousands of Indians attended the Independence Day ceremony here at the historical Red Fort to celebrate the country’s freedom.
From flags painted on cheeks to flag design printed t-shirts, from Tricolour caps to suits, the message of the Indian flag — sacrifice, peace and prosperity — could be felt in every direction.
Over 3,000 girls from government schools of Delhi — clad in saffron, white and green — formed a replica of the national flag.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cavalcade reached the Lahore Gate where he was received by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra.
Wearing a beige half sleeved kurta, tight fit white pyjamas and a red and saffron turban, the Prime Minister kept up with the spirit of the crowd.
His entry filled the audience with immense enthusiasm with children standing on their toes to catch a glimpse of their Prime Minister.
The General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area, then conducted the Prime Minister to the saluting base where a combined Inter-Services and Police Guard presented the general salute to him. Thereafter, he strode to inspect the Guard of Honour.
The Guard of Honour contingent consisted of one officer and 24 men each from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Delhi Police.
The unfurling of the national flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort synchronised with the resonant sound of the ceremonial 21 Gun Salute fired by the gunners of the elite 2281 Field Regiment. The Army band played the National Anthem.
In his address, the Prime Minister touched upon various topics including demonetisation, black money and corruption and promised to take India ahead “with greater speed”.
The crowd welcomed his speech with roars of approval even though there was a technical hitch in a section of the ground.
A woman from Mumbai said she was impressed by the security arrangements but complained about the sound system.
“Everything was awesome but the audio quality was very poor. I could’ve heard the speech properly if I was watching it on television, sitting at home,” 34-year-old Jasmine Jhaveri told IANS.
Students from Government Boys Secondary School had the same complaint.
Two girls from London were among those who failed to understand the speech owing to the language barrier.
“We couldn’t understand his speech but could clearly make out by people’s reaction that he was quite engaging,” Emily Stacy told IANS after the event.
Her friend Laura Knight appreciated the programme and said she was impressed by the band. “The sound of trumpets and drums was great. I was expecting it to be very traditional but it was similar to the kind we have heard in our country,” Knight said.
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