In addition to the national heroes and those individuals receiving national honours and awards, Jamaicans will today celebrate the country's sporting heroes.
Olympians and Paralympians will be honoured guests at two events. The first is a wreath-laying ceremony at the heroes' shrines at National Heroes Circle at 4 p.m.
During that ceremony, a new headstone for Jamaica's pioneer Olympian and outstanding athletic administrator, the late Herb McKenley, will be unveiled. Members of the public attending this event are asked to be seated by 3:30 p.m.
Later today, at 7 p.m., the athletes will witness the 'Jamaica's Musical History Honouring our Olympic Journey' show. Minister with responsibility for Sport Natalie Neita-Headley said all the headstone preparatory work had been done with just the unveiling left. The musical tribute was also on schedule.
"All is set up. We should start on time. The athletes actually come in at 7:30, so when they do arrive, we will stand to welcome them," she said.
Neita-Headley said the athletes' cheques were ready and they were very appreciative of the financial token.
"It's not payment, but just the preparation to be a part of the team. Some of them had to do surgery, some are still studying both here and overseas. It was at a great cost to them," she said.
Evangelist Sandra Brooks will bless the event to start on the right note. Performers include mento sensation The Jolly Boys, reggae greats Leroy Sibbles, Marcia Griffiths, and Freddie McGregor, along with dancehall bigwigs including I-Octane, Konshens, and Beenie Man. Neita-Headley opined it was important to have all the different genres represented.
"When people see performers like The Jolly Boys, it's a lesson for them to see where the music is coming from. It's not just about what we experience today, which is dancehall," she said. "So let's give them mento, ska, rocksteady, and some dancing as well."
The 6,000 tickets for the event disappeared like canned food before a hurricane, but it will be televised with a screen outside the Arena in case of any overruns. Screens in Half-Way Tree and Dump Up Beach in Montego Bay will also broadcast the event.
"For me, the combination of beautiful Jamaican music with the heightened pride ... . It's a win-win situation."