Youth and Culture Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna, has urged the society to use the legacy left behind by Jamaica's National Heroes as a stepping stone to achieving greater success as a nation.
"It is my wish that (we) will rediscover that indomitable spirit, so remarkably displayed by our ancestors; and that this spirit will equip us for the mission we must undertake to achieve the ultimate goal of balancing the lives of our people," she stated.
Miss Hanna was among several persons who paid tribute to Jamaica's six National Hero and sole Heroine, during a special ceremony held at the National Heroes Park in Kingston on Monday (October 15), which was observed as National Heroes Day. The function was held under the theme: ‘Salute to the National Heroes – a Nation on a Mission: Our Heritage…the Foundation'.
Paying floral tributes were: Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen; Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller; Opposition Leader, Andrew Holness; Deputy Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew, Councillor Andrew Swaby, representing Mayor, Senator Councillor Angella Brown Burke; Senator Navel Clarke, representing President of the Senate, Rev. Stanley Redwood; President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Seymour Panton; and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, His Excellency Yuri Gala Lopez.
Olympians, Veronica Campbell Brown, Usain Bolt, Kerron Stewart, Samantha Albert, Alia Atkinson, and Michael Frater, as well as Paralympian, Sylvia Grant, also paid floral tributes during the ceremony.
In acknowledging the accomplishments of Jamaica's athletes, Miss Hanna noted that they "have caused our nation to stand tall among the great nations of the world".
"Your heroic deeds on the great human stages of the world have brought glory to our people. We know it takes great sacrifice; but you can bask in the pleasure of a grateful nation," she remarked.
Meanwhile, a new head stone was unveiled at the grave site of late Olympian, Dr. Herb McKenley, while floral tributes were paid by Prime Minister Simpson Miller, and his widow, Beverley.
In paying tribute to Dr. McKenley's life, former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson, noted that he was not only a "legend in his time, but also a legend for all times".
"He laid the foundation and we saw the fruits of that expressed in the most fulsome ways in London. I know from his resting place, he is smiling, at peace and with pride, at what those who have followed in his footsteps have been able to accomplish, not only for themselves, but for our nation of Jamaica," he stated.
Mr. Patterson also remarked, "His memory will remain eternal, not only because of what he did on the track, but what he did until the time of his death; in laying the foundation that Jamaica could prove to the world, there are areas in which we can excel, and where we are prepared to be nothing but the best, and to reap gold as we build this great island of ours."