RALLY the troops now for the celebration of National Heroes Day!
We must defy this culture of lateness by beginning now to galvanise plans for a well thought-out and an appropriate celebration of our nation builders.
In the absence of a National Cultural Commission that would have led in building consensus for appropriate celebrations, our local community leaders, schools, churches and civic organisations must rally and excite our sleeping culture to so something. Make something happen!
On every island and cay, within every settlement, let us give justifiable celebration to this newly fashioned National Heroes Celebration. In many ways it is brand new, therefore let’s silence ourselves to lift this celebration to a high plain. We in this generation have a unique opportunity to tailor celebrations befitting the honouring of our people and one which future generations can continue to enhance.
We in our generation must shake off the sloth and don’t care attitude of celebrations of national holidays. It is indictable to see them only as a day-off, to fly off to the United States for another day of shopping or another day on the beach. Can we intentionally lift this paralysing attitude that voids so great an opportunity to teach and thereby entrench things Bahamian?
I invite our Bahamian public to advance and share ideas. I would like to receive ideas that I can further share. Family Island leaders please do not wait for New Providence. Lead in your own celebrations. Let every island have its own unique celebration. Honour local heroes from among you. I call upon island administrators and clergy people to give our people leadership in this regards. Indeed, I acknowledge that some of you already have some ideas in place. There is the mini heroes park in Green Turtle Cay and a Wall of Fame in South Andros and Coopers Town. No doubt there are other wonderful things happening elsewhere. If you can only share them with us all. I am convinced that we must find a way to incrementally honour small numbers of our people annually, even posthumously. We must acknowledge on whose shoulders we stand and go on to strengthen our shoulders on which future generations can stand.
I must acknowledge the Fox Hill community for already entrenching a national heroes celebration in that community. It even predates the first official celebration of the newly coined holiday. Last year, on the second Monday in October, National Heroes Day, I was a speaker at this community’s celebration at St Paul’s Baptist Church. The idea of honouring their local heroes on this day has already begun. The celebration was complete with a March and lunch.
The Bahamas, as a nation, has much to learn from countries in our region. There are countries that have already entrenched the celebrations of their heroes. In Antigua there is a national celebration on the public park where specified numbers of people are honoured in Antigua style. St Kitts has their own local awards with which to honour its heroes. Jamaica has its National Heroes Park. They painstakingly sift out who goes in there as heroes. Barbados has both a Heroes Day and a day for Errol Barrow, their Father of the Nation. Barrow’s statue towers in Bridge Town. They have creatively come up with a unique system of honours. Trinidad’s highest honour is the Trinity Cross that goes to their chief of honourees.
For our celebrations at the national level to have credence we must bring into force our own local system of honours. The colonial awards have outlived their usefulness and continuing with them will only impede our progress in the celebration of our national heroes. How ridiculous to even perceive of honouring our Bahamian national heroes with colonial awards. Ideas in the fashioning of our local awards have been advanced and only await presentation to Parliament. I urge the Prime Minister and our government to bring this cultural revolution on. It will be another feather in their cap.
The declaration for national heroes park is long overdue. I suggest we locate such a park within Clifton here in New Providence. A committee alone for this cultural advance is warranted. Another feather in the cap as we make another cultural advance.
We will be seeking to have the Prime Minister declare October as Bahamian History Month. I urge the schools to seize such an opportunity to teach and push our Afro-Bahamian history. Further, we will awaken a sense of self-worth within the hearts of our children as they become aware of their roots and know their heritage, that indeed we have something to celebrate and therefore they should put hope in their brains rather than dope in their veins. Local celebration says, we have something of which to be proud.
I trust that we can soon launch competitions for national dress. We need a conversation on this. Let’s start thinking up ideas now and advance our thoughts.
Let us garner our collective thoughts and now advance ideas. Let us make something happen as we mould a celebration and begin this unique journey of upholding in an intentional way those worthy of being dubbed national heroes.