LOOK forward to the future.
This was 79-year-old Marika Karawalevu's message to young people as Fiji celebrated Independence Day yesterday.
Mr Karawalevu left his Tamavua home at 7am to travel to Albert Park in Suva.
He, along with hundreds of Fijians and tourists, gathered at Albert Park to witness the military parade and 21-gun salute.
"Fiji has come a long way. It hasn't always been good but we have to keep focusing on the good," Mr Karawalevu said.
"We should keep looking forward to the future, expecting nothing but good for our country."
Mr Karawalevu said he was at Albert Park when the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, visited Fiji in 1953 and again in 1970 when her son Prince Charles officially handed over documents guranteeing Fiji's independence.
"Both were beautiful occasions. I remember the pride I felt when I saw them but I felt even more proud to be a Fijian."
Pritika Sharma and her husband Ronesh Kumar also took their two children — Aanush, six, and Arsh, seven months old — to Albert Park.
"Around the world we hear of racial and religious wars and I feel so blessed that we do not have that here in Fiji," Ms Sharma said.
"I am proud that my sons can grow up as Fijians in this country and I hope that they will experience the peaceful Fiji that we are living in now when they grow up."