It was August 31st, Independence Day, yet there were no flag-waving citizen, no shouting of marching orders, no drum rolls and no stirring renditions of the National Anthem to be heard at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
With the annual parade cancelled because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the only sound to be heard was the faint buzzing of drones in the sky.
Hanging from them, and not from the traditional flagpole, were the red, black and white of the country’s national flags as part of an alternative Independence Day celebration activity conducted by employees of Rectrix Drone Services Limited.
“Today, we have offered to do this as a mark of respect. Also, as patriots, we’ve come out to put the flag in the air, and fly it for a couple hours, so people driving by can see the flag, and remember what this day is all about,” said Anthony Vieira, Managing Director of Rectrix Drone Services Limited.
Having obtained the permissions from the National Security Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority, Vieira and his team went to the Savannah from 8 am. Others wanted to partake too, Vieira said, but COVID restrictions limited the group to five people.
Proud and determined, the group of five battled strong winds and technical challenges to get the flags into the sky. Perhaps more than ever, this year citizens needed to demonstrate a sense of patriotism, the team said.
“The nation is at a very critical juncture as it pertains to COVID-19, we have to beat it or else we are going to go into further lockdown and that is going to spell chaos for everyone. We are not immune to this,” Vieira said.
Despite the new normal, T&T remains a blessed nation, he added. However, he said we only need to look abroad to see how devastating COVID-19 can be if things get out of hand.
Given this threat, Vieira said it is our civic responsibility to adhere to the public health guidelines.
“Please adhere, comply with the requests from the government and Ministry of Health and from the Prime Minister. The public sector, the private sector, please let us observe the COVID-19 protocols. And hopefully, God bless our nation,” he said before returning to ensure that the flags flew correctly.