Sixty-two years ago, our nation took into its own hands, the responsibility for its own destiny. The infant nation was filled with confidence and zeal, hope for the future and eagerness to address its challenges. In the six decades since, we have made some progress.
After the turbulence of particularly the 1970s and the decade long military hold of the '80s, we have found stability in a constitutional arrangement that has survived for seventeen years, by far the longest since independence. Long may it live.
A greater percentage of our people have access to social infrastructures, such as electricity, potable water and motorable roads. Our health and educational systems are undergoing reforms in quality, delivery and financing that will bring benefits to everyone. Our economy is roaring back.
But we face many challenges. Unemployment is for too many people, the uncomfortable reality. The benefits of our growing economy do not reach as many as fast as we would like. And rank partisanship often undermines efforts to find solutions to these problems.
To address these and other challenges, we need to rekindle the spirit of our people that powered a sustained struggle from the days of the Aborigines Rights Protection Society to the declaration at the Old Polo Grounds at midnight on March 6, 1957.
Then, as now, we faced great resistance from those from whom we sought our independence, but we were not deterred. Then, as now, we had different ideas as to how to wage the fight, but we were united by a common goal. Then, as now, we did not have everything we needed to guarantee the success of our ambition, but we charged on with confidence and enthusiasm.
On this day of celebration, I urge all of us to rediscover this spirit. We must work together to achieve our goals. And we must find, promote and sustain the leadership that fully understands our challenges, appreciates our potential and is ready and willing to bring all of us together to make a great leap forward.
Happy Independence Day!
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