Story and Photos by William R. Goodwin, APCSS Public Affairs
More than 100 Fellows, staff and faculty members of the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) gathered on the center’s lanai Jan. 26, to celebrate India ‘s Republic Day and Australia Day.Both holidays are celebrated Jan. 26 each year.
Retired Army Lt. Col. Tom Patykula, Chief of Admissions at APCSS, kicked off the festivities by introducing representatives from each country, who spoke a few words about their country’s celebrations.
“It’s a great honor and privilege to have you all come out and share the Indian Republic Day festivities with us,” said Indian Army Brig. Gen. Harinder Pal Singh Bedi, who is attending the Executive Course at APCSS. “Way back in 1950, this great country of ours became a republic and adopted a constitution. On this day, we have festivities at a very grandiose level in New Delhi .”
India ‘s constitution was put into force Jan. 26, 1950 and is considered the day the country truly became a sovereign state. A decree was set forth proclaiming that date as a National holiday and is celebrated as Republic Day of India.
Australia Day is celebrated as the day that Captain Arthur Phillip took formal possession of the colony of New South Wales and became its first Governor Jan. 26, 1788. Today, Australia Day is a community day with formal ceremonies around the country – flag raising, citizenship ceremonies and the presentation of community awards – combined with local events and fun activities.
“It’s an honor to spend National Day with my international colleagues at APCSS,” said Cameron Gill, a senior policy officer, in the Strategic Policy Branch of Australia’s Department of Defense, who is attending the Junior Executive Course at APCSS. “APCSS is an international body and like Australia , likes to celebrate international cultures.
“In Australia , we normally celebrate Australia Day by recognizing our cultural diversity and all the good things about our country,” Gill continued. “We get together with family and friends, and relax at the beach or park and enjoy a picnic or barbeque.”
After Bedi and Gill spoke about their country’s holidays, cake and punch (jokingly referred to as “kangaroo juice”) was served. Pamphlets, posters and travel guides from the two countries for everyone to read were also available at the event.
Bedi summed it up by saying “It was a very good feeling that everyone so willingly came out and joined us on our Republic Day here at the center. It speaks of a very good mutual understanding and brotherhood of everyone here.”