“Independence is essential for permanent but fatal to immediate success.” – Samuel Butler.
Independence Day. Definition.
Independence Day is a great holiday. Every country celebrates it in its own way. However, to some extent, the celebration is the same. It may differ by the budget or the numbers of militaries, but it is still the same. Different Presidents and different citizens, but still the same festivity.
It is all about people gathering at one spot to see the military parade. To see the march of troops and military equipment. Then with hands covering their eyes, residents would stare into the sky in an attempt to discern flying jets. Thousands captured by the magnitude of the event.
And then cheering and applauding again and again. Louder and louder. Probably even singing and dancing. The nation has never been happier and more united than on this great day. But afterwards, loud music and the cheering of the crowd would be disrupted by the announcement. The President of the state is on the stage. He or she is ready to talk.
And again, the cheering. The thunderous one. Children with giant smiles on their faces are sitting on the shoulders of their fathers. They do not understand what is going on, but they are happy because everyone around is happy too. With a tight grip, they hold small flags in their hands and begin to wave them in the air as a person goes up on the stage.
When the speech has been spoken, and all of the selected soldiers were rewarded with medals, the crowd freezes with admiration and pride. Some drop a few tears. Some start clapping their hands and shout out something into the air. The rest will continue to scrutinize the actions of the President and soldiers on the scene quietly.
Independence Day and the military parade
Quite the picture, isn’t it? I don’t know exactly how each country celebrates its Independence Day every year. But I do know how to switch on the TV and make a research on the Internet. Moreover, I met people of different nationalities when I was working abroad. And I was lucky to witness how exactly they celebrated their Independence Day. You know, of course, about my experience from the previous article.
So, I beheld the Independence Day of Indonesia, India, Russia, France, and the Liberation Day of Italy. It was something… extraordinary, I must say. Every time I visited these events, I felt goosebumps everywhere on my body. I do not want to go into the details of the celebration. I just want to underline the peculiarity of the event for each nation.
It is all about unity. The military parade represents the power of the country. And the more significant this power, the safer people should feel. And the safer people and their children feel, the happier they are. And the happier they are, the better and brighter future the nation would have.
And at this very moment of the article, you should start to wonder how the story is related to social problems at all. This is my responsibility to answer if I want to make you continue reading.
The problem is that money for the celebration of Independence Day are taken from the budget. For instance, the American government spent approximately 5.4 million dollars on the celebration of its Independence day in 2019. French government spent nearly 4.5 million Euros in the same year. The Ukrainian government, as corrupt as it is, wanted to spend an estimated 10 million Euros.
Meanwhile, thousands of soldiers are still dying in different parts of the world. Thousands of homeless are struggling to survive another day without food and shelter. People are dying because they are sick and can’t find money to cover healthcare expenses. And the rates of unemployment are increasing every year. This leads to economic instability and poverty among nations.
Of course, a few million dollars would not drastically improve the overall economic situation of the state. And it is not enough to help all homeless and unemployed. But this could be a commencement. A beginning, a small drop of water which could start to fill the ocean and make it a place for survival.
But Independence Day is a reminder that people are free and protected, so how it would be without its celebration?
Independence Day in Ukraine
This year, the celebration of Independence Day in Ukraine was special. Thanks to the newly elected President Zelensky, the money allocated for the event was spent on bonuses for military and their families. That’s right, there was no official military parade. No tanks were riding through the streets, and no jets were flying in the sky. There was not even a firework.
The country is currently in a state of war with Russian separatists in the East. Therefore, many political analysts tried to convince the President that the military parade was necessary to show Ukrainian people the strength of the army and its ability to protect everyone. However, Zelensky decided to spend allocated from the budget funds on people. On those who dedicated themselves to the protection of their homeland.
But despite President’s tenacity, around 20,000 people went on the central streets of Kyiv to celebrate Independence Day of Ukraine. It was symbolic. Citizens were marching alongside soldiers. Mothers were holding pictures of their sons who died in the East of Ukraine in front of them. Middle-aged women were holding photographs of their husbands. Next to their chest. Right where the heart is.
It was tremendous. It was the first time in my life when I actually felt the spirit of Independence Day in Ukraine. I always used to believe that Independence Day is just the additional day off on the calendar. I have never imagined this day to be anything special. Until last Saturday, when I witnessed my fellow citizens marching on the streets with pride and dignity in their eyes.
No money was required to organize the event. It took only a bit of time and an enormous love for Ukraine. I realized that tanks or jets did not represent the power, and they were just a pile of junk iron. They were useless without people. I realized the immense contribution of each citizen into liberty and independence. Those mothers and wives were proud of their sons and husbands, and they wanted to show the rest of the country that freedom comes along with a hefty price tag.
As I was standing on the pavement and making nice pictures and videos of the commemoration, I came to one conclusion. Independence Day is about people and people only. It is also about the unity of these people and their ability to resist. The resilience and cohesion are the two major qualities that inspired Ukrainians to shape the Ukrainian nation.
The point I am trying to make here is simple. Governments do not need to show off the power of their countries. They should make it about people and their unity. And the money can be spent on various good deeds and resolution of social problems. Those who love their country do not require reassurance in the face of the military parade.
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