by Feng Yingqiu
PANGLONG, Myanmar, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Myanmar government held a state ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the country's Union Day in Panglong, Shan state Sunday which is a place of origin where the historical Panglong Conference was held with Panglong Agreement signed.
About 1,700 representatives from government, ethnic groups and others attended the ceremony opened by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, whose father General Aung San was a signatory to the Panglong Agreement.
National hero Gen. Aung San, representing then government, initiated the Panglong Agreement with other 23 representatives of ethnic nationalities on Feb. 12, 1947, proclaiming to strive for independence of the country with unity.
Speaking at the ceremony, Aung San Suu Kyi said it was a day of remembrance for those who signed the Panglong Agreement in 1947 but also a hopeful reminder for those participating and following the 21st Century Panglong this year.
Panglong is not merely a part of Shan state but also an important part of the entire union where the foundation of the very unity of the union was laid down, she said.
Noting that the union was first established on the basis of consultation, discussion, coordination and agreement, Suu Kyi said, "The history never ends, it's always moving on. So the leaders of struggle for independence began the history of Panglong. It is incumbent upon us now for this listing to conclude successfully."
"No one can escape history. Successive generations will judge our actions in their respective period till doomsday. This being so, we must ponder over how we'll face the decisions by the tribunals formed with the generations to come. We need to defend ourselves with our heads raised upright."
Suu Kyi sent a message to those involved in the peace process to be unselfish and of dutiful spirit and be able to inspire future generations.
She called for inclusiveness of the non-signatories to the Nationwide Cease fire Agreement (NCA) which was initiated between the former government and eight armed groups in 2015, to join the NCA and upcoming Panglong conference with absolute belief.
Suu Kyi also urged all stakeholders in the peace process to make sacrifice bravely for the interest of the people.
The Union Day ceremony was attached with a Panglong peace talks program participated by Suu Kyi and 12 ethnic people each of whom is taking part in peace process.
The day on which Panglong conference was held with Panglong Agreement signed was designated as Myanmar's Union Day.
On the occasion of the Union Day, President U Htin Kyaw stressed in his message that the cooperation and coordination among the government, parliament, military, ethnic groups, political parties, civil society organizations and every citizen in order to implement the national reconciliation and peace process.
He emphasized the importance of national reconciliation in implementing the country's economic policy as well as union spirit for building a democratic federal union.
A state flag hoisting and saluting ceremony was held in Nay Pyi Taw in commemoration of the historical event with Vice President U Myint Swe in attendance.
The Yangon regional government also held the same ceremony on the day, while the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) did so grandly at its party headquarters in Yangon.
The NLD-led government held the 21st century Panglong Peace Conference first meeting on Aug. 31 last year.
The second meeting is to take place in Nay Pyi Taw on Feb. 28 with representatives taking part as described in the framework.