Amid the customary pomp and pageantry that has come to characterise the annual Ceremony of Investiture and Presentation of National Honours and Awards, there was an echo of gratitude from recipients on the grounds of King's House in St Andrew yesterday.
However, for Major Joanna Lewin, who accepted the posthumous instruments of appointment to the Order of Merit for her mother, the late Dr Olive Lewin, there was a blend of emotions.
Describing her feelings as a good mixture of pride and sadness, Lewin said if her mother was around, she would have graciously accepted the honour for distinguished service to the fields of music education and folk music research in Jamaica.
"I am sorry that she is not here to receive it herself, … but as the Honourable Edward Seaga said at her funeral, he didn't think she was fully clothed in the glory that she deserved during her life. I am pretty sure that where she is now, she is fully clothed with God and she is living on immortal in her work," Lewin said.
Another of the 179 recipients of national honours, National Housing Trust Chairman Easton Douglas, who was invested in the Order of Jamaica, said he was humbled by the award.
"I feel humbled and at the same time elated that, after 59 years of service to the country, the service that I have given and am giving has been recognised by my peers and by the nation," Douglas said. "I consider this one of the greatest awards any human being serving his or her country can obtain."
The Reverend Dr Garnet Brown, who was also appointed to the Order of Jamaica, shared similar sentiments.
Brown, who is credited with being instrumental in the creation of such national institutions as the Rural Agricultural Development Authority and the Management Institute for National Development, said the honour has brought him a sense of fulfilment.
"I am happy to know that the country recognises my work, because to me, it is service to my country first. Service to my country is tantamount to service to God," Brown added
Award-winning poet and author Professor Lorna Goodison was gracious in accepting her appointment to the Order of Distinction (Commander class) yesterday.
"I am just so happy and I am hoping my mother and father are looking on and are very happy," Goodison said.
She added that when she began writing more than 30 years ago, she never dreamt of receiving such an award.
See more photographic coverage from yesterday's ceremony on pages A3, A5, A6, B8, C5 and C9.