On Aug 15, 2017, the City of Cupertino in conjunction with the Cupertino-Bhubaneswar Sister City Initiative hosted a first-ever ceremony in honor of India’s Independence Day. This included a flag hoisting ceremony at Cupertino city hall.

The Consul General of India Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok, along with his entire delegation raised the Indian flag into the sky in the courtyard of Cupertino city hall. It twirled in the wind alongside the flags of the United States and California. Afterward, the audience sang the national anthems of both countries – the Star-Spangled Banner and Jana Gana Mana in unison with high school performers.

The first female Indian-American mayor of Cupertino Savita Vaidyanathan offered her personal perspective:

“As a Hindu-American coming into this country and then becoming an immigrant here and a citizen here, this is a remarkable day for me. A momentous occasion for me as the Mayor of Cupertino to raise the Indian tri-color in my city and to have the support of this wonderful Cupertino community as well as all the elected officials. It is just so heartwarming to stand under the Stars and the Stripes and the Indian tri-color together. It represents everything about the Cupertino community: we are very diverse, very strong together, and we all have strong sentiments and love for the community.”

Co-Founder and Chair of the Cupertino-Bhubaneswar sister city initiative Veena Rao agreed, stating, “we are very happy that Cupertino is welcoming diversity in such a great way.”

The ceremony concluded after several dignitaries expressed praise for Cupertino’s diversity and progress. This included mayors of neighboring cities like Los Gatos, Campbell, and Saratoga along with Assembly member Kansen Chu, and elected officials and representatives from cultural organizations. 

As the Indian flag danced in the air, and members of the Indian community shared in their excitement and pride for their home country, I agreed as well.