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Celebrate heroes

FR. SEBASTIAN CAMPBELL

Published: Oct 10, 2013

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Happy Heroes Day, Bahamas! And indeed the entire month of October, as this and every year will be observed as National Heroes/History Month. I thank the prime minister for his proclamation confirming the same and for enacting it into law, at last.

The celebrations have already started. It was a blast. Some Bahamians are intimidated because of paralyzing traditions where politicians must give a blessing in order to authenticate anything in our Bahamas. Tragic isn’t it?

The Heroes Committee has been calling Bahamians to celebrate Heroes Day each year for at least 20 years. Every year since, more and more Bahamians have been waking up to the fact that no chains can hold them and progressively the idea is sweeping the minds across our archipelago of islands. The government is on board and legislation has already been passed and new legislation is on the way to enhance that which has already been passed. This is now reality, everyone will soon be on board.

Already the communities of Bains and Grants Town are in the swing of things. On Sunday, October 6, they launched celebrations of their heroes at Missionary Baptist Church on Hay Street. I applaud Reverend Dr. C.B. Moss and his aggressive foot soldiers as they make the message of nationalism live, and rescue from obscurity the heroes of that area. Indeed celebrations continue as they go into our schools and celebrate with a banquet later in the month.

Fox Hill is celebrating now for the third year their heroes. On Monday, October 14 at 11 a.m. there will be a ceremony at St. Paul’s Baptist Church hosted by pastor is Rev. J.C. Rahming. A procession will follow at the end of which will be a reception at the entrance to St. Augustine’s College.

Honored as their heroes this year will be Shelia Rolle (tourism),  Jennie Moss (oldest old scholar alive today from Sandilands All Age School), Lillian Edwards (female caregiver at the Ranfurly Homes), Winifred Mackey Moss (community worker), Ellvie Pratt (social worker), Mackey Rolle (former healthcare giver), Esmeldra Johnson Rutherford (past director of the Nursing Council) and Mary Johnson (former director of nursing).

The exhibition at the Post Office at East Street Hill should be in full swing shortly. I seek the public’s involvement, and ask members of the public to submit photos and an abbreviated write up on their hero, role model, etc. Here is a rare opportunity for you to define your idea of a hero. I would like to see this exhibit in high gear well before month’s end.

I know the Renaissance Movement, a group of youthful Bahamians, endorsed by the 40th Anniversary of Independence Commission, is planning a march and rally in celebration of our heroes. Please listen up for that date and let’s give them support. Go for it!

It is my good hope that come next year we will have combined efforts in bringing greater focus at a national level. I anxiously await the appointment of a national cultural commission as a coordinating body to all we do in the honoring of our heroes, legends, etc.

But until then, let us press onwards in our given celebrations. We will get there. Other countries in our region have gone ahead of us by leaps and bounds. However, we must not be discouraged. We will make up in order to get there with Barbados with a National Heroes and Errol Barrow Day holiday; and with Jamaica with its heroes park; and swearing of allegiance only to their country and with Trinidad with its honors system and its status as a republic; yes, and all the other small countries around us as they strive with passion in their breast to forge their own unique cultural identity, knowing that they need no foreign government or culture to tell them who they are or accredit them in their local systems of identity.

Happy Heroes Day Bahamas!


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