Joy, Uniting Spirit On Providence Island -Bicentennial Fever Spreads, More Activities Cited

Hours after the electrifying ceremonies that took place on Providence Island, news broke that even the United States of America as well as Liberian communities in the diaspora inhaled the fragrance of peace and unity emitted from the home soil and they all aligned themselves to the national spirt that pervaded the country on Friday, January 7. The United States Government through the all-powerful States Department also had their version of the Bicentennial with appropriate speeches. Other Liberians residing in the United States and Europe and parts of Africa also celebrated the date on which Liberia statehood evolution began. Even on the home front, the public discourse at the community level has been witnessing massive approval of the bicentennial and its expressed objectives. The Analyst has also found out, there are equally thrilling action-parked events scheduled for February this year.

Liberians are still passionately talking about national ceremonies held on the Providence Island last Friday, January 7, 2022. Many think the ceremonies were necessary to refreshed minds of citizens about their history, heritage and level of unity as a people and nation.

On Bushrod Island last Saturday, a day after the Providence Island program, Atayee drinkers at an intellectual forum lavished praises on Government and all those who conceived the idea of the Bicentennial.

James K. Menbleh, the moderator of the Citizens Discourse Center on the Freeway, could not hide his emotions as kept speakers in check to shorten their statements owing the number of them who had their hands up to be recognized to speak out.

Nearly everyone conceded that the occasion was necessary.

“If there is only one thing for which to I can praise this government is the unique manner in which the kickoff of the Bicentennial Celebration was held yesterday, Friday, on the Providence Island,” said Sekou S. Kamara, Jr., when he was recognized to make his point.

He continued: “I have passed on the Gabriel Tucker Bridge since I was 7, and have done so every other day if not daily since. It was only on last Friday that I first set foot on the Island which we study in school from Elementary to University level. And what I saw was amazing. My first thought to myself was that this should be done nearly—or perhaps twice a year on any of our major national days. I evoked my nationalist spirit and I won’t be surprised if everyone who attended felt the same as I did.”

“For me, there was one something special that made me to almost shed tears—the drama that was performed by the Liberia Movie Union depicting the arrival of the of the first 86 immigrants and how the negation was done,” another discussant, T. Salacious Kay said when he was given the floor to give his impression about the program.

He continued: “One could understand the aggressive stance of the natives in initially rejecting the returnees. Even in our generation, if any group of heretofore unknown people, be it black people, wanting to disembark and take possession of some parcel of the land, we would object. Currently, in our generation, we are still resisting our brothers and sisters abroad to have dual citizenship. So, one can understand the fear, anxiety and trepidation of the natives against the returnees. But what got me off balance was the argument of one of them who, while weeping said, ‘it was you, our brothers and sisters that sold us to the white people. We did not leave here at our own pleasure. You forced us on foreign ships into captivity. So, please, let us in.’ I think that was a valid argument. And all ended beginning the forming process of our country—that’s 200 years ago. It’s in the rightful direction that are celebrating it this year.”

As Liberians were kicking off the Bicentennial Celebration, which officials say is a yearlong event, Liberians and non-Liberians in other parts of the world were holding their versions.

According to reports, the United States Department of State was also kick-starting the Bicentennial in their own way in Washington D.C, USA, with the keynote statement delivered by the Spokesman of the Department.

Another high profile American, who mans that superpower’s embassy near Liberia, was should-to-shoulder with President Weah and the people of Liberia on the home front celebrating.

He had an elaborate statement to deliver, exalting US-Liberia relations which he described a long-lasting and mutually beneficial.

According to Ambassador Michael McCarthy, there have been so many incredible individuals over the last 200 years who built the relationship between the United States and Liberia, stating that he was humbled to be the one to mark this historic day on behalf of his government.

He said in the statement: “We should pause to remember all those who made sacrifices, whether newcomers to this land or indigenous people. We should also acknowledge that this is a nation of people drawn from many roots. And we should celebrate the fact that one of Liberia’s treasures is its tremendous diversity. I arrived in Liberia one year ago yesterday.  What an incredible year!  And that is despite our ongoing efforts to stop the spread of and protect all people from COVID-19. Our shoulder-to-shoulder efforts with the Ministry of Health and many others has led to the vaccination of more than one million Liberians.  That is worth celebrating, but it is not a number to be satisfied with.”

Pending Bicentennial Events

As the Bicentennial kickoff program on the Providence Island continues to be in the talking points of talk show hosts and in many quarters of the county, The Analyst has peeped in the planning package of the Steering Committee and has seen other key events that will take place during the year.

According to the tentative outline of the events, the Bicentennial celebratory activities will be wrapped in this year’s Armed Forces Day celebration on February 11. Speeches and organization processes will dovetail some Bicentennial messages and publicity into the program, including Muslim Prayer Day.

Then on February 13, there will be National Christian Prayer Day and an Official Opening Ceremony. It is not immediately known what that entails.

There will be Bicentennial Musical and Cultural Festival on February 14 at the SKD, where all artists and cultural and traditional groups from across the country will be invited to showcase talents and promote the Celebration’s objective of tourism, unity and peace.

On the same date of February 14, there will be Bicentennial Dinner and Honoring Ceremony at the grounds of the Executive Mansion on Capitol Hill.

February 15, according to information gathered, will be the Bicentennial Heads of State Summit that will also be held at the Executive Mansion ground.

Other key date includes February 19, there will be Bicentennial Reception Hosted by the President of Liberia and First Lady for the General Public—a get-together that will take place on the Executive Mansion ground.

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