BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — The Rev. Pierre d’Haiti, state Sen. Ed Gomes and other dignitaries were on hand Wednesday to raise the flag of Haiti outside Bridgeport City Hall, honoring the island nation that was once home to many city residents.
Haitian Flag Day marks the day the country gained independence from French colonial rule in 1803. Haiti was the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to do so.
“That is what a good citizen would do, celebrate heritage,” City Clerk Lydia Martinez told the crowd gathered around the flagpole.
Carolyn Vermont, of the West Indian American Association of Greater Bridgeport, agreed.
“We want to make sure we embrace our cultures,” she said.
Haitian General Consulate Charles Forbin joined the celebration.
“It’s a pleasure to be here today,” he said. “This is what we need.”
The Haitian flag features the red and blue of the French flag, cannons, the royal palm of independence and the motto “L’Union Fait La Force,” or unity makes strength.
Gomes, who is from Cape Verdean, said he understood why adopting a new flag has such potent meaning for a people.
“When we (Cape Verdeans) gained our independence from Portugal, we changed our flag, too,” he said.
Police Chief AJ Perez, who is Cuban, said he was honored to be among those celebrating another island nation.
“There is that bond between us islanders,” he said. “We all want to better ourselves and better our future and better our children’s futures.”
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