My memories of you are plentiful, some bitter, yet most sweet. Though I may have left your shores, you have never left my heart. In fact, it is in being away from you that I’ve grown to appreciate, understand and love you.
I am grateful for the values that you’ve instilled in me – discipline, integrity, loyalty and responsibility. I am proud to be the product of an independent nation, one whose global impact has been my guiding light as I traverse this world, in the name of peace. No matter where my feet and soul take me, when asked of my nationality, with chest held high, I respond, “I’m Jamaican.”
As a people and a nation, we are strong, we are smart, we are courageous, we are bold and we are beautiful. Indeed, out of many, we are One People. Likening our 50th year of independence to that of a woman, we are now being asked to truly come into our own. This requires our willingness to admit our mistakes, heal from our past and stride confidently towards all that we are capable of being.
We’ve come into our crone age at a time when the world is in turmoil economically, politically, socially and spiritually. To believe that we may be immune to such impacts would be naïve at best and irresponsible at the darker end of the spectrum.
At 50, still we are a young nation, with room for tremendous growth. Yet this is only possible when we’re willing to release ourselves from our former legacies and look towards the future re-assured that whatever is divinely intended for each and every Jamaican cannot be stopped. In other words, we are the Jamaica that we’ve been hoping, praying and waiting for. We are the only ones that are capable of saving ourselves.
While I revel in the celebrations that abound, I invite each and every Jamaican across the planet to pause for a moment and inquire, how has being Jamaican helped to shape the life that I’m now leading in places far away from home?
I was raised in a Jamaica that honored its children by nourishing them in and with love. Sadly, it seems that such a Jamaica may be escaping us. We must re-claim this as we move toward the second half of our first century. It is these children that will become the leaders of a nation gifted with immense potential. Therefore we have a responsibility to ensure that they are educated, fed, nurtured, respected and loved.
How a nation treats its children is a direct reflection of the prevailing mindset. Nadine McNeil ..http://universalempress.com/
Reproduced from the Grand Jamaica Homecoming 2012 newsletter.