Every year in March, the Royal Commonwealth Society of Wales hosts a flag raising event to celebrate Commonwealth Day. The Commonwealth flag comprises of the Commonwealth symbol in gold, displayed on a blue field. The symbol focuses on a globe, which stands for the global nature of the Commonwealth and the spread of its membership.
While the flag raising by itself is a simple act, its symbolic relevance cannot be underestimated, as it signifies the unity of 53 members states and their people.
On 11th March 2019, the Royal Commonwealth Society of Wales invited our team of six international students from Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture to the flag raising event at the prestigious Mansion House in Cardiff.
One of the first noticeable things is perhaps the presence of ethnic diversity in the room. As we were introduced to all the guests from different walks of life, I noticed one thing we all had in common, a welcoming smile that instantly gives the recipient a sense of belonging. All age groups alike, from Scouts and Girl Guides to Armed Forces Colonels were conversing, genuinely interested in the life of the other person. The interactions held around the room by different groups, some complete strangers, exuded a sense of oneness and unity.
The relevance of the Commonwealth flag, which was also raised in Commonwealth countries across the globe, became even more apparent, as people stood with a respectful demeanour to honour the flag and the values it stands for. It’s just a flag being put up, others might say, but that simple act deeply reiterates the 2019 theme: “A Connected Commonwealth”. It also tells the story of the bridges built for international trade, cross cultural exchange, diplomacy and importantly development. Commonwealth Day emphasises a legacy for future generations to coexist in peace without fear, because under that one flag we are one people.