Children sang patriotic songs and waved tricolours as the Indian American community in Connecticut celebrated the 60th anniversary of India's independence.
The event at the Government Centre in Stamford on Aug 11 had a gathering of about 250, including community members from nearby Fairfieldand Westchester County.
There was a feeling of pride and unity in the hall decorated with balloons, banners and Indian and American flags. Children from the Gurukul Hindi School sang patriotic songs and waved the flags.
Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, the chief guest on the occasion, praised the way the Indian struggle for Independence was conducted. "The grace by which you won your freedom stands as a great monument to the people of India," he said.
"As the Indian flag is raised and the national anthem is sung, I encourage all citizens to join the Indian community in celebrating the 60th anniversary of their home country's independence. We extend best wishes to all our Indian neighbours along with our appreciation for their continued support and commitment to America."
Praveen Kumar, consul for community and political affairs at the Indian consulate, New York, delivered a message from Neelam Deo, Indian consul general in New York.
"The 60th anniversary of India's independence holds special significance for us as we remember the sacrifices of our ancestors and appreciate the vision of our leaders of the time in forging a path for independent India," the message read.
"The fruit of that vision is visible today in the growing recognition of India's capabilities. The Indian diaspora around the world including the Indian communities in the US, with its dedication and commitment to excellence, has made a mark for itself, played an important role in enhancing India's prestige internationally and contributed to transform Indo-US relationships."
The Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin - Connecticut Chapter (GOPIO-CT) sponsored the event.
"Events like this bring the whole community together and make us proud to be Indians. We have a rich heritage and by uniting we can make significant contributions to our adopted country," Paul Ahuja, GOPIO-CT board member and chair of the organising committee for the event, said in a statement.
Sangeeta Ahuja, president of GOPIO-CT, added: "For me, India's Independence Day is like Memorial Day, Veteran's Day and US Independence Day all together."
GOPIO is a non-partisan community service organisation that helps promote awareness of Indian culture, customs and contributions of People of Indian Origin (PIO) through community programmes, forums and events.