A hero is “someone who acts selflessly, without thinking of rewards. Someone who is willing to put themselves at risk for the sake of someone else or a higher cause.”

As Jamaicans face many challenges, National Heroes Day provide us with a chance to reflect on, and acknowledge the work and sacrifices of our pioneers, great leaders , Heroes and Heroine who have built our beloved country and set the foundation for a new social order. Our heroes and heroines all had great belief in and love for their country. They had a vision for Jamaica and they were determined to make it a reality even if it meant sacrificing their lives.

National Heroes Day is a commemoration of acts of heroism, patriotism, dedication, sacrifice and service that have shaped and laid the basis for the present. Many of these acts of heroism and patriotism continue to be carried out every day by ordinary Jamaicans.

After 51 years of Independence there now needs to be a renewal of the vision we want Jamaica to be.  Jamaica needs now more than ever, activists heroes like those who laid the foundation for our nation.

Nanny of the Maroons taught us the value of struggle, resoluteness, unity and strength; Sam Sharpe was the epitome of the fight against injustice; George William Gordon was a staunch defender of the dispossessed; Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Norman Manley and Alexander Bustamante were leaders who believed and defended the rights of the working class.

Today, we need new heroes who will champion the economic independence of Jamaica.

We need new heroes who will stand up against corruption in politics and public life.  We need new heroes who will stand up for justice and the protection of human rights. We need new heroes who will champion the education and empowerment of all our people.

During this period, we take inspiration from their sacrifices.  We must learn from their struggles and find the strength and will, to triumph over the many challenges and obstacles confronting us today.

On this Day we recognize those who have taken up the mantle of our pioneers and made significant contributions to the social, economic, political and spiritual development of our nation.

To them national and community appreciation will be expressed. There will be many ceremonies all over the island to thank community leaders and other well thinking citizens for their many selfless actions and sacrifices in the cause of contributing to the national good.

They will receive well deserving National Honours and awards to be cherished by themselves, their families and their friends.

To them we must express profound and sincere gratitude.

As we reflect on what has been achieved, let us become heroes for a new vision for Jamaica. Let us pursue that vision with faith, optimism and a sense of purpose.

In the words of Sir Alexander Bustamante “Let us resolve to work together under the law to build a Jamaica which will last and of which we and the generations to follow may be proud.”

God bless us all. God bless our beloved country.

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