Sunita Williams wishes Indians a happy Independence Day
New Delhi, Aug 16: On the eve of Independence Day, the tricolour featured at the International Space Station (ISS) thanks to NASA astronaut Sunita Williams.
She displayed the flag on the ISS and sent a message to everyone in the country of her origin. "I wish India a very happy Independence Day for August 15 ... India is a wonderful country and I am very proud to be a part of India," Sunita said.
"Of course, you know that I am half Indian. My father is from Gujarat. So, I am familiar with culture and customs of India," she added.
Sunita was participating in an annual TV programme 'Riti Bhalla Special' that is telecast in 23 countries on India's Independence Day. The programme's host is an 18-year-old student of New York University.
Back in 2008, Riti Sunshine Bhalla started her programme to "pay homage to the freedom fighters who gave up their lives so India could be free. This year, we are dedicating our Independence Day Special to Sunita Williams, who has made a billion people of India so proud."
Sunita thanked Riti for inviting her and gave a guided tour of the International Space Station. On the occasion, a host of celebrities offered their best wishes to the Indian-American astronaut who blasted off into space on Jul 15 along with Yuri Malenchenko of Russia and Japan's Akihiko Hoshide.
Prominent among them were Shah Rukh Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Anushka Sharma and Yash Chopra. Videotaped greetings of the Bollywood actors and the veteran director were shown during the programme.
US Senator Bob Menendez and Congressman Steve Israel also congratulated Sunita. In the past five years, leading American politicians and India's 11th President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam have appeared as guests on the 'Rita Bhalla Special'.