The Malta Independent 19 November 2018, Monday

US Colours lowered from Floriana embassy for the last time

Malta Independent Saturday, 2 July 2011, 00:00 Last update: about 6 years ago

The American flag was yesterday lowered from the embassy in Floriana for the last time.

The American embassy has been housed in Development House on St Anne Street since 1971. Previously it was located in Valletta and in Sliema and now the embassy will be moving to a new and modern building in Ta’ Qali.

Chargé d’Affaires Richard M. Mills, Floriana mayor Nigel Holland, staff and marines and journalists gathered on the embassy’s roof to mark the embassy’s final day in Development House with a short ceremony.

“This building went through a lot of historical milestones; the Cold War, the new millennium and the attack on the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001. The new century brought about new needs, especially security needs for our embassy,” Mr Mills said.

He thanked the Floriana mayor for having supported the US embassy since the first local council was set up.

“We went through some great historical events locally and we look forward to write the future’s history of the Maltese and American history in Ta’ Qali,” he added.

On closing his speech, he commanded the marines’ colour party to start lowering the flag. Although slightly hindered by a strong North Westerly wind, the flag was slowly lowered and then intricately folded into a case fold.

Mr Mills gave the flag to the Floriana mayor to be kept as a keepsake by the local council.

Mr Holland said: “We are very proud to have hosted the US embassy, the British High Commission and the Italian embassy in our hometown. Hosting these diplomatic missions gave more prestige to Floriana.”

He recalled how he remembered the arrival of the US embassy when he was still 12 years old.

“Today is a sad day for us, however we understand that security needs and the world have changed, hopefully to a better one,” Mr Holland said.

“Your gift today was an unexpected surprise and the local council and Floriana’s people will surely treasure this keepsake. We also hope that this gesture will reinforce our ties with the US. The flag will be put on permanent display at our offices. We will be proud to have the last US flag that flied on the Floriana US embassy,” Mr Holland concluded.

The new embassy in Ta’ Qali will be officially inaugurated on 15 July. The first diplomatic relations with Malta started in 1796 but the first full embassy was opened soon after Malta obtained its independence in 1964.

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