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The flag, a civic tradition upheld by generations

Flag od Dominican Republic

The flag event is a custom whose military origins remain in all schools and colleges of the country.

In the United States this event is also a custom but it is very weird apart from military or institutional protocol, to witness this kind of event in areas like Europe.

Although the anthem is sung and the fl ag is hoisted early every morning in colleges and schools in the country, only one day a week the fl ag ceremony is done. This is a time of much respect for students, teachers and the public. The Dominican flag is hoisted in the morning and the national anthem is sung.

As in most countries, good education states that whoever is witnessing this event must remain at attention and keep respect for national symbols.

This is established, by obligation, within the statutes of the Ministry of Education of the Dominican Republic, but Universities are exempt from it because they are governed by statutes of the Ministry of Higher Education.

The ceremony as such is very simple but symbolic. In many of the schools to hoist the flag is a reward for merit. This refers to an outstanding student in any subject, a group of student athletes who have had some important achievement or someone who has put up the name of the institution.

It will always be held in the morning, the entire student community gathers in organized groups and puts their right hand on their chest with great respect while singing the national anthem.

Students designated hoist the flag slowly and once secured at the top, the anthem still is sung until the end. Most schools take advantage of this event to make important announcements, get some recognition or dedicate the event to some civic celebration aactivity, for example the day of birth of Juan Pablo Duarte, the Day of Cultures or homeland week prior to the celebration of independence.

There are some institutions that take advantage of this time for real gala parades. In Santo Domingo, the Dominican College of La Salle stands out for its rehearsals during weeks to prepare marches of military origin dedicated to the flag.

The presentation is on February 26, students are impeccably dressed in their uniforms with white gloves and make a small parade around the institution.

Every student of all levels is involved, but the only ones who carry the flag are those who have already been nominated by their academic performance, it means, honor students.

Respect to flag and national anthem is a value learned since early age in all the country.

TEXT: Geizel Torres IMAGES: Suresh