The raising of a flag

The China and Fiji flags raised at Marist Brothers High School in Suva. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

ON February 23, 1945, after a fierce battle on Iwo Jima — Japan, Marines of the 28th Regiment, Fifth Marine Division, hoisted the US flag on a piece of pipe at the top of Mount Suribachi.

The flag raising was a sign of victory and the image captured through the lens of Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal is regarded as one of the most memorable icons of World War II.

The raising of a flag is of national significance and importance; it carries a lot of weight so when the Chinese flag was raised at the Marist Brothers High School in Suva, it raised a few eyebrows within the Marist family and passers-by.

In the art of warfare, the raising of a flag signifies victory, the question is could this be a sign of victory, and a victory for what, or is this a sign and mark of respect and gratitude for the assistance provided by the Chinese Government?

Interestingly, the Marist Brothers were not consulted with Brother Kees Van Der Weert stating that he is also trying to find out, how the flag was raised.

On the other hand, the raising of the flag in the country could also be a sign of the strong diplomatic and longstanding relations Fiji has with China.

“That flag is a sign only of work still to be completed, nothing sinister about it, not a sign of capitulation or other,” said former principal master Ben Salacakau.

“Once the ground works are finally completed the Marist flag will go up there. We are still getting the right sized flag. The ones we have are very small for that height.

“That is the only reason, nothing sinister. After all, it is the right colour, red. In time once the right sized flag is ready there will be the change.”

In the Book of Psalms in the Holy Bible, “May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the Lord grant all your requests”. (Psalms 20:5) On April 14, 1865, as part of a celebration of the Union victory, Major General Robert Anderson (1805-71) raised the national flag in triumph over the battered remains of the fort-as ordered by US President Abraham Lincoln earlier that spring.

“We are here today to raise the flag of victory over the capital of our greatest adversary. In doing that, we must remember that in raising that flag we are raising it in the name of the people of the United States, who are looking forward to a better world, a peaceful world, a world in which all the people will have an opportunity to enjoy the good things of life, and not just a few at the top,” On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr and Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon, they received a call from US President Richard Nixon.

The raising of the US flag on this momentous day was a sign of victory for mankind in achieving what was earlier thought as nearly impossible.

“We didn’t know the president was going to telephone us on the moon until about 10 seconds before it happened. ”

At that point, the ground told us to move over in the vicinity of the flag.

Then we heard the president.

“Being able to salute that flag was one of the more humble yet proud moments I’ve ever had.

“To be able to look at that American flag and know how much so many people had put of themselves and their work into getting it where it was.

“We sensed, we really did this almost mystical unification of all people in the world at that moment,” Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr is quoted to have said.

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