* First in a series on 1962 Independence Day babies by Camille Bethel
On August 31, 1962, the Union Jack was lowered and this country's red, white and black national flag was raised, symbolising not just freedom from British rule, but the birth of the independent nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
It was a momentous occasion for the people of Trinidad and Tobago, so ultimately there was celebration throughout the country.
Among the households celebrating that day was that of Kamaladin Emamali, who was born on that very same day.
One of the 180 babies born on Independence Day, according to the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development statistics, Emamali, who hails from Malabar, Arima, and who has lived all of his life in this country, has described life over the past 50 years as a fulfilling and exciting one.
"Growing up in Trinidad and Tobago, I have never had a dull moment. There have always been exciting moments in my life, including getting the opportunity to meet the first Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams and being featured in the Express newspapers as a child, along with several other children born on August 31, 1962," Emamali said in an interview with the Express last week.
It is therefore no surprise that Emamali feels more than just a passing sense of national pride.
The fact that his birthday falls on Independence Day has served as motivation for his involvement in activities that foster development of his community and country.
"From very early in my life I was involved in a lot of group activities. I was a part of the formation of the secondary body of the Ministry of Youth, as a teenager, being one of the founders of that youth body at the age of 20 and that impacted my life in a very positive way," he said.
Emamali, who also expressed pride in the development of the country over the past 50 years, said he has been motivated over the years by the country's first Prime Minister as well as South Africa's first black President Nelson Mandela.
He tries not to focus on the negatives of life but clings to and promotes the positives.
Now standing on the threshold of his 50th birthday and the country's 50th anniversary of Independence, as an adult he continues to be involved in activities all over this country and his community, working especially with the youth.
The development of the nation's young people is one of Emamali's heartfelt concerns.
And this is why he has been lobbying for the construction of a pool and a gymnasium in his community, so the young people can get involved in sports, he said.
"You see a vast difference in the young people when they are involved in group activities because when they are involved in sport and other things they are less likely to be involved in drugs and violence," he said.
Emamali said the country has really grown over the past 50 years and he believes that Trinidad and Tobago is going places.
"We are so blessed to have such a diverse cultural mix of people in this country but we have some issues on race and disrespect that we need to address.
"We need to get together and embrace each other, because we are really blessed and I think people should live as one. Of course we are only human and we will have differences but at the end of the day we have just one life to live and so we should love each other, that is how I live.
"I don't look at people's faces, if they have money or not, if they are white, black, yellow or what because I believe in oneness and we should all enjoy it as one," he said.
• Continued tomorrow