Unlike you, I was at work on Heroes' Day. Admittedly, it's not the worst holiday to work - it's very rare you find a manic Monday so laid back. I went by the National Heroes Park in the afternoon for the annual salute to the national heroes. Now, I am all for making the event free, in fact, I wouldn't have it any other way. And I'm not sure if there should be a dress code, either. After all, you do want people to feel comfortable, seeing it's a family event.
But it was brutally clear to me that persons were more interested in the entertainment rather than the significance of the event. I'm not the kind of person who considers himself a nationalist. I show respect to the anthem et al, but I'm not the kind of person who would go see the Reggae Boyz in a meaningless game.
But I was troubled by the behaviour of some members of the gathering last Monday. First off, at least one woman showed up with a hot Dragon Stout in hand. Guess she wanted to set the mood right. She then proceeded to recite, loudly, a tale of how a few persons, who apparently wanted to see Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, turned back after hearing she was not going to be there. She found equally giddy (and loud) attendees to voice their approval.
While the wreaths are laid at the heroes' shrines, the orator reads a citation detailing the particular hero's contribution to putting Jamaica on the road to where we are now. So, were the little penny sections listening? Hell no. In fact, they were having so much fun in their areas, the private and public security personnel had to go "shhh" them a few times, like they were talking to a bunch of school children. Interestingly, the real children who attended were far more quiet. Go figure.
Once the music and singing started, it was further downhill. Sure you expect people to enjoy themselves and so a dance or two is okay. Even the governor general joined in with a few lines from No Woman, No Cry, during the performance from Nexus Performing Arts Company. But the skanking, giddiness and gun finger to the air antics of the overhyped few, just kind of threw me off. I'm no puritan. I don't expect people to not enjoy themselves, but I just think some took it to levels that didn't need to be reached.
I suppose the argument will be that the Ceremony of Investiture and Presentation of National Honours and Awards is the more formal of the two big Heroes' Day events in the Corporate Area. But I just feel if you really want to let your hair down, go to the beach or something. Just saying.
Tell me I'm a 'stuffed shirt' at email@example.com