President leads celebration at Merdeka Palace

23 , 2013 | Source: 19 August 2013, The Jakarta Post

Millions of Indonesians, including those in foreign countries, celebrated the nation’s 68th anniversary on Saturday with numerous festivities and traditional events.

The main event was held at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta where President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono led the state’s flag-raising ceremony. “From 1,000 feet, we congratulate the country on the 68th anniversary of independence. Always be glorious, Indonesia,” was suddenly heard from the palace’s loudspeakers. Seconds later, 14 Indonesian Air Force’s fighter jets, consisting of eight Sukhoi Su-27s and Su-30s, as well as six F-16s/Fighting Falcon, in a double-V formation, flew over the palace’s field with reverberating noise.

The performance seemed to be one of the most anticipated shows as thousands of guests, including hundreds of high-ranking officials, former state leaders and envoys of foreign states, came to applauses.

The President and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, Vice President Boediono and his wife Herawati, sat at the front row of the VVIP area. Behind them were Cabinet members and heads of state bodies.

Among the former leaders were former vice presidents Try Sutrisno, Hamzah Haz, and Jusuf Kalla.

While in 2012’s celebration the decorations at the presidential compound had been styled to reflect traditions from North Sumatra, this year it was all about East Kalimantan culture.

Guests, however, were also welcomed by dance and live music performances of other traditions, such as Javanese and Sundanese.

Yudhoyono and other guests witnessed a performance of the Batik Jamplang dance from Pekalongan, Central Java, and Adi Merdangga, a traditional marching band from Bali.

The Gita Bahana Nusantara (GBN) orchestra also sang a song written by Yudhoyono entitled Bangga Jadi Anak Indonesia or Proud to be an Indonesian kid.

During the flag-descending ceremony in the afternoon, noted singer Rio Febrian sang Yudhoyono’s other songs Untuk Bumi Kita or For Our Earth and Kawan or Friend.

This year’s national flag raising team (Paskibraka) consisted of 66 selected students from all 33 provinces. Adelena Tesalonika from Southeast Sulawesi’s provincial capital of Kendari, was chosen to be the one carrying the national flag.

After the formal ceremony, Yudhoyono and his wife hosted a gathering with dozens of members of the Indonesian Veteran Legion (LVRI) at the State Palace.

Another reception was held at the palace’s garden hosted by the President and was attended by ministers, high-ranking officials, and ambassadors in the evening.

Independence Day celebrations were also held at dozens of Indonesian embassies in foreign countries. In Moscow, for example, some 400 Indonesian citizens attended the ceremony, which was also followed by the first “Festival Indonesia” in the Russian capital, according to a statement.

 

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