The 69th Union Day celebration was held early this morning at People's Square in Yangon. Yangon region Chief Minister U Myint Swe, presided over the ceremony and read a message from President U Thein Sein part of which said,
‘Myanmar is home to a diversity of ethnic communities. Friendship and understanding will undoubtedly flourish when they respect and recognise one another’s cultures, traditions, customs, languages and literature.
This solemn undertaking should reflect ‘non-disintegration of the Union’ and the ‘perpetuation of sovereignty’ embodied in ‘Our Three Main National Causes.
It is absolutely necessary to create a society with the human resources to enable ethnic communities to enrich and cherish one another’s languages, literature, culture, arts, traditions and historical heritages. In addition, all nationalities are now engaged in the development of the country as a national concern.
At this juncture, the issue of cementing national unity is of utmost importance. Greater emphasis has been placed on gradual relaxations of restrictions to push for pragmatic transition processes and to create a society where democracy can thrive through political changes.’
Union Day commemorates the day in 1947 that Bogyoke Aung San, a Myanmar nationalist leader, attempted to unify all of the country. On February 12, 1947, Aung San and leaders of ethnic groups across the country signed the "Panglong Agreement" designed to bring all the ethnic nationalities in the country together.
Five days before Union Day, an annual relay of the Union flag begins. A ceremony to mark the start of the relay is held at City Hall. The flag is carried through 45 townships before arriving at People's Square on Pyay Road.