The feeling of unity and patriotism was unmistakable yesterday, as scores of spectators clad in the national colours of red, white and black made their way to the Grand Stand of the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain for the 55th Independence Day Parade. Stands were filled to capacity, as chaperones and officers of the Defence Force struggled to accommodate parents and their children for the event. However in the end everyone was seated a safe and comfortable distance away from the activities.
The proceedings began with a performance of the national anthem, prompting spectators to raise their voices in unison and sing aloud, as the stands echoed with the lyrics. For his arrival, Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley was met with applause, shortly before 7 pm yesterday as he and members of his Cabinet made their way to the stands.
Officers of the various arms of the protective services showcased their discipline, skill and rhythm, as members of their accompanying marching bands belted out classic calypsoes to more contemporary soca hits. Members of the TT Regiment, the Coast Guard Air Guard and Police Service and Cadets made up the armed detachments or front half of the parade, while the Fire Service, Prisons Service, Ambulance Brigade and the Red Cross made up the rear part of unarmed detachments.
Members of the Police Service mechanised division drew an overwhelming round of applause as they crossed the Grand Dtand, as one officer of the police Traffic Branch, carefully balanced himself over two motorcycles.
Along the parade route throngs of onlookers struggled to catch a glimpse of the parade, as they packed the pavements along Frederick Street and the Western Main Road in St James.
Service men kept the crowds on their toes with their antics as they made their way down Long Circular Road to the Police Academy, where the parade ended. Newsday spoke to avid spectator and retired police officer, Randolph Greene who said that he has attended the parade for more than ten years,he was overwhelmed with the large turnout of spectators and supporters.
"It's a really warming sight to see so many people come out today in unity for our country and our sevicemen. I saw in the streets a lot of young children waving their flags so I'm glad to see that the tradition has not died."