Jakarta. Indonesian children must be taught to love and proud of his country since their early childhood. Vice President Jusuf Kalla stated this in a ceremony commemorating the Bela Negara (Defending the State) day held at the National Monument (Monas) park today.

The Vice President then reminded the values of Bela Negara instilled creatively so as to keep in line with the era.

“We are now in the era of information and technology that demands a new space for the youth to express their love to the country,” he said.

In front of more than 10,000 participants of the ceremony, Mr Kalla affirmed that defending the state is not limited to fighting using armed weapon, but it could also in the form of political and diplomatic efforts.

“This is because we are now facing a changing geopolitical constellation after the cold war, free trade, and ever bigger pressures of regional economic integration in the coming years,” argued the Vice President.

For that reason, he invited all citizens to get involved in the efforts to defend the state.

“Farmers can contribute by increasing their productivity to support food security, teachers by educating children in border areas, soldiers by securing outermost islands, doctors and other health workers by providing health services in remote areas, anti-corruption activists by fighting against corruption, and drug-free communities by taking actions against drug abuse,” said the Vice President.

Mr Kalla then appreciated those who lost their lives on their duty for the country. “We must appreciate them and make sure that their spirit will remain and subsist,” he said.

He then reminded of the threats of food shortage, transnational crimes, and radicalism and terrorism.

Other than those challenges, Indonesia is still facing domestic problems. “We are still fighting against poverty and inequality. We are working hard so that every citizen will get proper health services, education, clean water, electricity, and freedom from isolation,” he said, adding that these are the elements needed to be a strong nation.

Diversity owned by the country, the Vice President continued, can be a strength and weakness at the same time.

“If we do not manage it well, it is potential that our people will be torn apart,” he affrmed.

Bela Negara (Defending the State) day is based on Presidential Decree No. 28/2006 commemorated every December, 19, referring to the second military aggression by the Dutch on 19 December 1948.

As in the last year ceremony, a giant Red and White flag, with 47,43m x 31,62m dimension, is raised on Monas’ flagpole for four days since yesterday.

The ceremony was led by Vice President Jusuf Kalla as an inspector and Dede Yusuf, chairman of the parliament’s Commission IX, as the commander.