Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, has called on Jamaicans to commit to the mission of building a better country and of leaving a proud legacy for future generations.
He was speaking at the National Independence Thanksgiving Service held this morning (July 29) at the historic Holy Trinity Cathedral on North Street, downtown Kingston.
The Governor General, in his message, stated that as the country celebrates 50 years of Independence, we must look back and give thanks for the many achievements and learn from the failures and disappointments, and "build our future victories on the wisdom we have gained from the hard experiences that we have suffered".
"We are a nation on a mission; a mission to vindicate the sacrifice and suffering of our National Heroes; a mission to surpass even the expectations of our founding fathers," he said.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, in her message, saluted the National Heroes, whom she said, made tremendous sacrifices so that Jamaicans can celebrate as an independent nation.
She reminded the congregation that as Jamaica celebrates 50 years of nationhood, it is useful and important to remember that the country continues to grow and develop.
"As we celebrate our Golden Jubilee, Jamaicans should commit to "making sure that every child we encounter, feels valued; every worker we interact with feels respected; every elderly person in our life feels secure; and every person with disability will feel loved and secure," she said.
Opposition Leader, Hon. Andrew Holness, in his remarks, urged Jamaicans to be thankful for the achievements to date, "while we learn from the errors that have prevented us from achieving more".
"At the same time, let us be optimistic and hopeful that the next 50 years will see the fulfillment of Jamaica's maximum potential for the benefit of all our people," the Opposition Leader stated.
"Let us agree that the mission and meaning of project Jamaica in the next 50 years, is the economic independence of our nation," he added.
Scores of Jamaicans turned out for the two and a half-hour service, to give thanks and praise for 50 years of achievement. The event was made even more memorable by the soaring voices of a combined Children's Choir, the Jamaica Folk Singers, Jamaica Youth Chorale and many others, who gave thanks through songs and dance.
Rev. Jonathan Hemmings, Pastor of the Ocho Rios Baptist Church, delivered a spirited sermon, while a large candle was lit in remembrance of the many Jamaicans, who have passed on since Independence, including those who made significant contribution to nation building.
Logistics and Protocol Consultant, Merrick Needham, took the congregation back to 1962, in a brief reflection of the moments leading up to Independence.
Also attending the service were Former Governor General, the Most Hon. Sir Kenneth Hall and Lady Hall; Former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson; Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, who also gave greetings; members of government; members of the diplomatic corps; uniformed groups; school children; and representatives from a wide cross section of the society.