Father and son are watching “Liar, Liar” in French and rolling with laughter!

Happy Haitian Flag Day – May 18th

Current flag of the Republic of HaitiThis past Thursday was Flag Day in Haiti.  That meant a day off of work for us and Matthew out of school.  I know that we have Flag Day in the US (June 14th which commemorates the adoption of the US flag in 1777) but I never remember us doing anything special.  Here it is celebrated in grand style, especially by the school children.  Each school organized drill teams and they had a parade down our street.  There were games and competitions organized between the schools and everything was very festive.  Many of the cars we passed on the road were sporting flags and there were strings of small flags hung across the road in several towns.

(Matthew is sitting on the clinic’s roof watching the parade go by The Salvation Army Primary School, where he attends)

In Matthew’s kindergarten class, the teacher made each child a small flag out of red and blue tissue paper and they learned a flag song:

“Mon drapeau, oh, oh!  Mon joli, petit drapeau.
Mon drapeau, oh, oh!  Mon joli, petit drapeau.
Dessalines qui a crée mon joli, petit drapeau.

The flag was created as Haiti struggled to become independent from France in 1803.  On May 18th, the two leaders of independence, Petion, the leader of the mulattoes and Dessalines, the leader of the slaves, met to unite their efforts.  They removed the white from the French flag, leaving the blue to symbolize both the mulattoes and blacks with the red symbolizing their blood.  Haiti successfully defeated the French (over 55,000 troops all together) and became the first independent, black nation January 1, 1804, only 28 years after America’s independence. 

Looking into the history of Haiti’s Flag Day makes me understand a bit better Haiti’s struggle for freedom and appreciate the heritage we have in the U.S.A.

“Oh, say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ the night that our Flag was still there.
Oh, say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free, and home of the brave?

(Francis Scott Key, War of 1812, battle in Baltimore Harbor)

(A good website for Haitian history is http://www.disc


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