Bermuda’s National Heroes Day is the celebration of the outstanding people who made Bermuda the great country with a sterling reputation and a culture which is envied internationally.
Indeed, our national heroes, our teachers and college lecturers, athletes, artistes and musicians, political forefathers, our regimental soldiers, our police service, civil servants, and front-line health care workers are also our national treasures who contribute to making Bermuda a better place.
As we celebrate Heroes Day 2022, we must also recognize our modern-day heroes, and salute the country’s front-line workers for the critical role they play as we unite to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, as we battle crime and violence, and those who serve the shut in, our seniors, our young people. To keep the culture alive, we must never forget their great contributions. We must teach our young people about Bermuda’s history so that they can be inspired to take the baton of those who have gone ahead of them.
In the words of Jamaica’s first National Hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey: “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.”
Bermuda first celebrated National Heroes Day on October 13, 2008, because we wanted to create a culture of national pride. Our heroes deserve to be recognised and saluted as people who exemplify visionary and pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement, and the attainment of the highest excellence. They have brought honour to our country with their words, and by their actions.
Considering this, it is with great pleasure and pride that we once again salute Dame Lois Browne-Evans, Dr. Fitzgerald Gordon, Dr. Pauuly Kamarakafego, Sir Henry Tucker, Mary Prince, Gladys Missick Morrell, Sir Edward Richards, and the Hon. Sir John Swan.
On National Heroes Day 2022, may I remind all Bermudian residents that while we are a small country, our history is rich and complex. We are a diverse people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, and our heroes have made an indelible on the soul of our people. In addition, we must remember and display the resilient spirit we are known for. We must continue to observe the COVID-19 protocols, be prudent during these inflationary times, and do not forget to be our brother’s keeper.
As we reflect on this day, let us remember those who today cannot openly celebrate their country, like the citizens of Ukraine. The war, perpetrated by Russia is a real threat to democracy and human rights. It is an assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty by a powerful aggressor. Soldiers, Innocent women, children, seniors and the infirmed have been bombed and killed in many Ukrainian cities. People are homeless, unemployed, and in some cases without food, and yet that they all have the mental fortitude and determination address the current conflict, move forward to rebuild their families, homes, their villages, and nations.
They need our prayers, support, and contributions, as they also share the values that we have defended throughout Bermuda’s history.
Let us remember that we stand on their shoulders today, and we must play our part in demonstrating leadership. We must make our contribution to Bermuda’s success and history and share in the hope of better things to come.
Every day offers us opportunities. It is for us to recognise them, to embrace them, and to make them count.
I wish you all a Happy Heroes Day.