JIS News

The homecoming celebrations for Jamaica’s 2004 Olympic and Paralympic teams came to a close yesterday (October 18), National Heroes Day, at the Floral Tribute to the Heroes at National Heroes Park in Kingston.
Adults and children were out in their numbers to show their appreciation and to get a glimpse of their sporting heroes.
Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry-Wilson, who chaired the ceremony, noted that the creativity of the Jamaican people was a force to be reckoned with. “Our culture is rich and alive and it augurs well for the future,” she said.
The Olympic and Paralympic medallists placed flowers at the shrines of the National Heroes. Tributes in drums, poetry, music, speech and dance were also given by invited performers, including Luciano, Dean Fraser, Akwaba Drummers, Nomaddz, and the Tivoli Gardens Dance Troupe.
Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, Portia Simpson Miller represented Prime Minister P. J. Patterson and Opposition Member of Parliament, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange represented Leader of the Opposition, Edward Seaga.
Hopeton Murray, Events and Commemoration Co-ordinator at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), organizers of the function, said that the event was successfully staged and met the objectives in ensuring that the Olympians were appreciated and that the Jamaican public got a chance to interact with them.
“The unity of the people over the past four days was notable and it was a pleasure to have been a part of the organizing committee and to have played a significant role on this our National Heroes Day,” he said.
Free copies of the Olympic Tribute, produced by the Gleaner, were handed out to the crowd. Joan White who had journeyed from St. Catherine to see the athletes expressed her delight at being at the function. Speaking with JIS News, she said that having the Olympians lay flowers was in keeping with the holiday that was being observed.
“Our National Heroes worked hard to ensure our freedoms and we honour and remember them today. The Olympians have made us proud on the world stage and we also honour them,” she said.
Members of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association (JAAA) were also in attendance.

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