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McKenley gets Heroes Day plaque recognition

Published:Tuesday | October 16, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (left) lays a wreath on the grave of the late great Olympian Herb McKenley during a National Heroes Day ceremony at National Heroes Park yesterday. The ceremony also saw the unveiling of a plaque on the grave of McKenley. Looking on are reigning double Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt (right), former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson (third left), and McKenley's widow, Beverly. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer

A plaque summarising the lifetime accomplishments of Olympic legend, the late Herb McKenley, was yesterday unveiled by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, and back-to-back double Olympic sprint champion, Usain Bolt, at the National Heroes Park.

The unveiling, which was also attended by de facto Sports Minister Natalie Neita Headley, Opposition leader Andrew Holness, members of Jamaica's London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic teams, and McKenley's widow, Beverly, was one of several 2012 National Heroes Day celebration activities.

"If there is anyone who qualifies for inclusion as we celebrate the Heroes Day 2012 to the theme of 'A Nation on a Mission: Our Heritage - The Foundation', it is Herb McKenley," said Patterson, who delivered remarks on the life of McKenley prior to the unveiling, and the laying of a wreath on his grave.

"I say this for the very simple reason that as outstanding as his 'FEETS' were on the track, ever more marvellous was what he dedicated himself to doing when he had retired from active competition.

"He laid the foundation so that Jamaica could prove to the world there are areas in which we can excel, and where we are prepared to be nothing but the best."

Neita-Headley, who read aloud the words of the plaque at the grave site, said the unveiling was significant.

Jamaica Olympic Association president Mike Fennell said the tribute was not only fitting, but timely.

"I am very pleased that someone like Herb is being recognised in a solemn ceremony when we are recognising national heroes of our country," he said.