Jamaica Celebrates National Day Today


Jamaica commemorates today its independence from the United Kingdom, which was attained on August 6 1962. The Gleaner describes the raising of the Jamaican flag for the first time as an independent nation:

Just before midnight on August 5, 1962, the British Union Jack was lowered and the Jamaican flag raised for the first time, marking Jamaica’s independence and the dawn of a new era. The national parade, flag-raising ceremony and fireworks were held at the National Stadium with the evening’s events beginning at 11 p.m. More than 20,000 people gathered at the venue for the night’s celebrations. At one and a half minutes to midnight, the first verse of the British anthem was played. The lights on the 60-foot pylons were put out and darkness descended upon the arena. In the hush that followed, the Union Jack, which waved over Jamaica for 307 years, was hauled down. Then 30 seconds to midnight, the lights came on again and the Jamaican flag was raised to the top of the flagpole. Then, both verses of the national anthem were played.

The theme for this year’s Independence Day is ‘I believe in Jamaica,’ which was echoed in today’s message from Sir Patrick Allen, Jamaica’s Governor General: “I believe that true independence exists when we are not subject to the control of others, when we do not entrust the shaping of our destiny into the hands of others, who would seek to dictate how we govern and conduct our affairs. In spite of our challenges and setback over the past 47 years, we are still a blessed nation, rich in heritage and abundant in resources. We have much for which to give thanks.”

The ceremony commemorating Jamaica’s 47th year of Independence is set King’s House and gets underway with a parade by uniformed groups and will include Independence Day messages delivered by the Governor-General, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. There will be patriotic songs, massed bands, traditional dances and a march past by various uniformed groups.

The Gleaner has published an article reminiscing on Independence Day, which can be found at http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20090802/ent/ent3.html

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