Wed | Aug 15, 2018

Remember the 'ultimate sacrifice' that got us here - Simpson Miller in Heroes Day message

Published:Monday | October 17, 2016 | 10:57 AM
Simpson Miller ... Our brilliant achievements in culture, sport, academics, governance, and various professional pursuits, are lasting tributes to our foreparents. They are the true architects of Jamaica’s history.

Leader of the Opposition Portia Simpson Miller in her National Heroes Day message to the nation sought to remind Jamaicans of the "ultimate sacrifice" that was made for them.

Simpson Miller urged the inclusion of youths in plans to build the society as they will become custodians of Jamaica's heritage.


My fellow Jamaicans and visitors to our beautiful Island. Our dynamic heritage is a celebration of the Jamaican people – past, present and future.

Our heritage defines our identity as a people and serves as a guide to the future we are forging together.

On this National Heroes Day, we celebrate our ancestors and their contributions.  It is a time to reflect on their strength, great courage and perseverance, as they fought to give us freedom and self government.

We pay tribute to our National Heroine and Heroes, who struggled and some even made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of our people and nation.

They paved the way to our freedom.

Nanny of the Maroons, led her people with courage, inspiring their struggle to maintain a spirit of freedom.

Sam Sharpe, said “I would rather die upon yonder gallows than live in slavery”.

Paul Bogle, walked 45-miles from Stony Gut in St Thomas to Spanish Town.

George William Gordon, sold pieces of his land to the people cheaply so they could qualify to vote.

Marcus Mosiah Garvey, taught us self-determination and pride in ourselves.

Norman Washington Manley said “the mission of my generation was to win self-government for Jamaica, to win political power which is the final power for the black masses”.

Sir Alexander Bustamante spent 17-months in detention for his defence of the rights of the people.

These six men and one remarkable woman will forever be immortalised in our hearts.

On this National Heroes Day we also salute the iconic but unsung heroes and heroines who continue to make great sacrifices in their families and communities across Jamaica every day.

Our brilliant achievements in culture, sport, academics, governance, and various professional pursuits, are lasting tributes to our foreparents. They are the true architects of Jamaica’s history.

For the vast majority of Jamaicans, our heritage is rooted in the African-Caribbean experience.

This has influenced our sense of activism, struggle, love of liberty, deep spirituality and our amazing creativity, which is world acclaimed.

Our African ancestors provide a strong anchor for our history, identity and collective cultural memory.

Our African-Jamaican civilisation also gives expression to our religious values, unique language and the abundance of drama, music, and laughter as integral elements of our lives.

Throughout the history of the Jamaican society, the indigenous Taino people were joined by Africans, Europeans, Indians, Chinese, Lebanese and others in the social and economic partnership that is our Jamaican inheritance.

This heritage of “Out of Many, One People” is the blueprint for continued cooperation and unity as we build the Jamaican society and economy.

Our ongoing challenge is to build a society and an economy that provide for all our people the necessary social and material benefits.

These include safety, social protection, high quality education, access to health care, home ownership and decent as well as rewarding work.

These achievements will motivate our Jamaican youth, many of whom are frustrated with their circumstances.

Our youth must be included in our plans and programmes as they will become the custodians of our national heritage.

My fellow Jamaicans, today let us reflect on who we truly are as a people, and the historical path we have travelled.

It is my fervent hope and prayer that National Heroes Day will strengthen our personal and collective resolve to build a better Jamaica anchored in “Our Heritage, Our Legacy, Our Strength.”

National Hero Marcus Garvey reminds us that “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

Let us together use the lessons of the past to create a Jamaica that is the place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business”

May God continue to bless the people of Jamaica and forever bless Jamaica, land we love.