The Commander-In-Chief (C-I-C) of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has by Proclamation declared Tuesday, February 11, 2014 as Armed Forces Day.
The day, according to the Proclamation, is to be observed throughout the country as a national holiday.
Tuesday’s program will witness a change of command, which is a simple traditional event rich with symbolism and military heritage. It consists of an out-going commander symbolically passing on authority to the in-coming commander by the presentation of national colors (the Flag). Outgoing Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Suraj A. Abdurrahman, will officially hand over command of the AFL to Liberia's first postwar Liberian Chief of Staff, Col. Daniel Dee Ziankhan.
The Proclamation is in consonance with an Act of National Legislature which declared the 11th day of February of each year as “Armed Forces Day.” The day is to be celebrated as a national holiday throughout the nation in recognition of the vital role of the AFL in defending and protecting the country’s territorial integrity. The Proclamation states that the Liberian Government recognizes the talents, services, patriotism, loyalty and gallantry towards the upkeep of the country’s noble heritage by those men and women who are now memorialized through the establishment of the Department of Veterans Affairs, as ordered by the Act of National Legislature on 22nd of July 2008.
According to the Proclamation, special attention and honor will be given to the veterans of the AFL and the Coast Guard who have been active and experienced actual service therein. The Proclamation therefore, directs and orders all military organizations within the Republic to organize and execute appropriate programs including parades and other ceremonies in recognition of the day. It also orders all government offices and business houses to be closed during the observance of the day from six in the morning till six in the evening.
A release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicates that with the passage of the Defense Act of 2008, the AFL remains steadfast in supporting the foundation for long term security and economic development and fostering regional peace to consolidate the country’s emerging democracy. The release further quotes the Proclamation as saying “with the professional development of the men and women in arms; the new AFL has been reinvigorated to discharge its constitutional responsibilities of safeguarding the Liberia borders including its marine resources.”
The observance is intended to instill a sense of loyalty and patriotism in Liberia’s citizens in recognition of the immense and sacrificial services rendered by the gallant men and women of the Armed Forces for the protection of a free and democratic state.
Official activities commemorating the day will begin on Tuesday at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) grand stand as early as 07:20 a.m. Other security forces participating along the AFL will include — but are not limited to — the Liberia National Fire Service, the Liberia National Police, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, the Executive Protection Service, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the National Scouts Association, among others.