Malta today commemorated the Freedom Day national feast, the event marking the end of the British services and the military base in Malta.
The 41 anniversary of the 31st March 1979 event this year passed-by without the official commemoration as the ‘Kumitat Festi Nazzjonali’ cancelled the ceremony in the wake of the health authorities directives.
On Tuesday morning, silence reigned in the area near the Freedom Monument at Vittoriosa as the official ceremony with the participation of the country’s highest authorities and the Armed Forces guard of honour was cancelled.
Silence also prevailed at the Grand Harbour where crowds and enthusiasts of the traditional regatta gathered each year to watch the races on this day.
The 31st March 1979 marked the end of the seven-year agreement negotiated by Prime Minister Dom Mintoff with the United Kingdom that permitted the British forces to use the Malta facilities for military aims. The departure of the British services meant the end of centuries of foreign occupation in Malta, which was used for the military needs of foreign powers.
This historic event is commemorated with a monument at Vittoriosa, the work of sculptor Anton Agius, which represents the moment of the end of the military base in Malta when on that night the British flag was lowered and instead the Maltese flag was hoisted. The long and rough road undertaken by the Maltese people to achieve freedom is characterised through a passage at the lower part leading to the monument.
41 year later, Malta is fighting for another freedom; it is not the presence of a military power but a force which is not visible – the Covid-19 pandemic.
In contrast to the road leading to the 31st March 1979 event, this time Malta is not alone but all countries world-wide are on the same boat, that of performing great sacrifices to reach only one aim.