President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) led the 75th Independence Day ceremony in the State Palace, Jakarta, on Monday. (Presidential Photographer/Agus Suparto)

Indonesia Embraces Modest Independence Day


AUGUST 17, 2020

Jakarta. The coronavirus outbreak has quieted down the celebrations of Indonesia's 75th Independence Day on Monday.

No extravagant celebrations and parades were held to liven up the spirit to avoid people crowding en masse. Only twenty participants attended the ceremony at the State Palace in Jakarta. Choirs and orchestra performed national songs virtually for the first time.

At 10.17 a.m. sharp, people across the archipelago stood upright in front of their TVs to salute to the sacred red-and-white flag on screen.

On his official Twitter account, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) told people to not give in to the tough times alluding to the pandemic. 

According to Jokowi, the country has fought its way past their trials and tribulations to gain independence and progress.

“As a large nation born from struggle, we believe that in every tough time, there is always a way out and ease,” Jokowi tweeted on Monday.

In his tweet, the president uploaded a video illustrating people across the archipelago -- shown by the various traditional houses -- standing in front of the flag in face masks.

The video narrated how the trial -- in this case the pandemic -- will make the nation stronger. It also called people to unite and move forward together for the country to get back on their feet.

“This is a challenge which we have never faced before, but the same spirit still burns. Behind every difficulty, there is ease. [Although we are] physically distancing, we are still one in heart,” the video added.

A family stand outside their car to pay tribute during moment of silence in Hotel Indonesia roundabout at Central Jakarta on Monday (17/08). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Members of a family stand outside their car for a moment of silence commemorating the 75th anniversary of independence at Hotel Indonesia Circle in Central Jakarta on Monday (17/08). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

The video ended with an illustration of health workers who are often dubbed as the heroes against the health crisis.

At 00.00 a.m., the president paid his respect to the 10,102 fallen heroes buried at Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in Jakarta. 

“Also for those whose name and the location is unknown across cities, villages, slopes, mountains, valleys and beneath the ocean floor. We would like to pay our highest respect for their contentment, sincerity, and purity of the heroes’ sacrifices in serving the nation,” Jokowi said.

Dressed in ‘Unity’

At the ceremony, Jokowi was dressed in the red-and-white traditional attire of the Nunkolo people from South Timor Tengah, East Nusa Tenggara.

The color red symbolized the bravery of the Nunkolo men. The Kaif motif woven fabric was adorned with modified rhombus or geometrical patterns with its center signifying water sources and its sharp edges depicting the hilly, winding regions.

Jokowi also wore a headband or pilu which featured two horns representing the role of a king who protects the people. He also carried a bag often used for betel nuts.

"Eating betel nuts is a symbol for unity, love, and respect," the president said.