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55th Independence Anniversary Commemmorated   
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Ghana today marked its 55th Independence Anniversary with colourful parades across the country.

A national parade of school children and contingents of security personnel was held at the Independence Square in Accra and addressed by President John Evans Atta Mills.

Similar parades took place in all the regional and district capitals, during which representatives of the President took the national salute and presented the Head of State’s Speech to the gathering.

President J.E.A. Mills arrived at the parade grounds at the independence Square in Accra at 8:30am in the company of First Lady, Mrs Ernestina Naadu Mills. The President wore a dark suit over a white shirt with a sea blue tie to match.

He received the Presidential salute on his arrival.

Also in attendance included the Vice President, Mr John Dramani Mahama and his wife, the Acting Chief Justice, Justice Atuguba, Speaker of Parliament, Mrs Joyce Bamford Addo, Former President Jerry John Rawlings and wife Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, Members of Parliament as well as Members of the Diplomat Corps and leaders of Political Parties.

The Independence anniversary is a momentous occasion marking the event that ended 113years of British colonial rule and ushered the country into constitutional governance under the leadership of its Founder and first Prime Minister and President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.

Though Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah spearheaded the independence struggle and eventually secured independence for the country on March 6, 1957, other people such as Mr George Alfred Grant, popularly known as Paa Grant, Dr J.B. Danquah, Mr Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, Mr Ebenezer Ako-Adjei, Mr Edward Akufo-Addo, Mr William Ofori-Atta, Mr Mensah Sarbah as well as a countless known and unknown others, also played various roles in the struggle.

Tuesday’s parade at the Independence Square comprised of 900 officers from the security agencies and 1200 teachers and pupils drawn from schools in the Greater Accra region.

Activities commenced with Christian and Muslim prayers after which the parade commander, Colonel Wilberforce Kwaku Asabre invited the President at 8:40am to inspect the parade and light the perpetual flame.

The President was accompanied by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Peter Augustine Blay and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Paul Tawiah Quaye to inspect the parade.

After the inspection, the President moved to the cenotaph to light the perpetual flame.

Lighting of the perpetual flame reminds the country of the symbol of independence and the need to keep the spirit of independence alive.

It also signifies the celebration of peace and unity, and the selfless devotion to the country. It insists on what is right and excellent.

The march past began at 9:05 in slow march and later in quick march.

Special Forces of the Ghana Army trained to deal with hostile situations dressed in combat attire also marched past.

The Navy in their action gear marched and demonstrated that they are ever ready to protect the country in its territorial waters as well as the Eagle Special Force of the Air Force and the Artillery Regiment also took their turn dressed in camouflage.

The march past ended at 9:55 and the parade advanced in review order to take the Presidential salute, amidst the firing of 21-gun salute by the 66 Artillery Regiment and a flight past by the Ghana Air Force.

The Parade Commander at 10:00am requested for the President’s permission to stand the parade at ease for his address.

Students from Kinbu High School invited the president for his address in drum language.

President J.E.A. Mills requested for a minute’s silence for Bonnie Etornam, a 14-year-old student of Ho Fiagbe Adventist Junior High School, who passed away during rehearsals for this year’s independence anniversary at Ho Fiagbe.

At the end of President’s address at 10:15am three hearty cheers was offered by the contingent.

The parade commander requested for the President’s permission to march off the colours and the parade.

The President was escorted to the Castle by the Police Service at 10:28am to bring activities at the Independence Square to a close.

Merry makers will use the occasion to patronize the various entertainment centres and beaches in their respective areas to celebrate the occasion.
Source: Enoch Darfah Frimpong & Sebastian Syme/Daily Graphic/Ghana

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