Columbus Somali population celebrates Somalian Independence Day

Several dozen members of Columbus’ Somali community sang the Somalian national anthem as they raised the nation’s flag in front of the Ohio Statehouse on Thursday. They hoisted the blue banner marked with a white star to commemorate the African country’s independence from European rule.

It was the first such celebration in nearly a dozen years for one of Columbus’ most prolific immigrant populations, and it served as a reminder that the city is home to a thriving community hailing from the mid-sized nation in the Horn of Africa.

The two-day celebration also included a lighting ceremony at Columbus City Hall on Wednesday evening that saw the city hall and several downtown bridges bathed in blue light.

Munir Issa, from left, Muad Issa, Farah Issa and Muna Issa, back right, with their mother Layla Ahmed, center background, during a Somali Independence Day celebration at the Ohio Statehouse.

The city’s Somali community hasn’t held an Independence Day celebration since 2009, and the lighting ceremony was the first of its kind. Organizers said they want to connect the younger members of their community, some of whom were born in the United States or left Somalia at such a young age that they don’t remember the country, with the nation’s history and culture.

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