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Garvey among celebrants to honor Jamaican heroes

Dr. Julius Garvey at a town hall meeting in Queens.
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Dr. Julius Garvey is front and center to a week-long celebration of Jamaica’s heritage and culture.

The son of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jamaica’s first national hero will join the nation in commemoration of the most outstanding contributors to their nation building process.

Already in full effect since Oct. 8, National Heritage Week marks a holiday and tradition that honors outstanding citizens of the independent nation.

While there he will attend the official unveiling of a life-sized statue of Olympian Usain Bolt. Slated to be held at the National Stadium on Friday, Oct. 13 a public ceremony will laud the athlete globally acclaimed as one of the most impacting of his era and one at every race brought acclaim to his tiny island-nation.

“The public is invited,” Olivia Grange, the island’s minister of culture, gender and sports said.

“We’re asking that everyone come out early and give Usain all their love and appreciation and to get the first look at the life size statue that will be unveiled. I know they will not be disappoint­ed.”

Bolt’s statue will be mounted alongside that of Herbert McKinley, another superlative athlete acclaimed to be the fastest 400m runner but also decidedly, the sprinter who started Jamaica’s dominance in track and field winning three silver and one gold medal in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics.

Along with Arthur Wint, McKinley displayed unprecedented speed in the 4x400m relay race in Helsinki, Finland.

On entering the Kingston sports arena, Bolt and McKinley will be the first two outstanding images visible along a row of monuments honoring heroes.

While Bolt’s is the latest and first of four to be unveiled, bronze images of his colleagues Shelly Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell Brown and Asafa Powell are slated for completion in the next two years.

While visiting the island, Dr. Garvey will also be able to witness a National Reparations Youth Baton Relay, featuring a race with athletes from all across the island who will take “the message of reparations to the people of Jamaica.”

The son of the soil will also be able to celebrate Heritage Week activities marking Jamaica’s rich heritage in music, sport and literature.

A series of activities will prevail in all of the 14 parishes culminating with a celebratory Heritage concert dubbed “From Kete to Reggae” on Oct. 14.

Master drummers as well as percussive musicians will trace the progress of the music which began in humble settings to emerge a forceful international genre.

Heroes’ Day is observed in Jamaica on the third Monday in October.

The day commemorates all national heroes and key figures from the history of Jamaica.

The Jamaica Information Services’ website states that “National Heroes’ Day was established to replace Queen Elizabeth’s birthday. The holiday takes origin in 1865, when Paul Bogle led a rebellion into the town of Morant Bay. The rebellion turned out to be a turning point in the history of Jamaica. The first national heroes were named in 1965, on the 100th anniversary.

Updated 7:24 pm, October 11, 2017
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