Having just finally had a chance to put feet up on the desk and read the local Belize papers, it was rewarding that the first story was a good news piece from the Guardian about the annual September 10 parade through Belize City.
As Guardian reporter Shane D. Williams pointed out, this year’s parade reflected a growing sense of security and peace in Belize City, as with even with more marchers than ever before, there were no untoward incidents reported among the enthusiasm and partying that continued to build as the throng made its way from Memorial Park through a new, longer route through the city this year.
The article also made mention of the fact that attendance in the parade is strictly voluntary and that everyone is marching because they want to express their patriotism and sense of belonging to a growing new nation where opportunities seem endless. We like it as another example of Belizeans coming together on their own to celebrate solidarity and that sense of “hand wash hand” that characterises Belizean society.
As usual, the parade kicked off with a ceremony to crown the Queen of the Bay, who this year is Jahrine Avila. Governor General of Belize, Sir Colville Young, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin and members of the diplomatic corps were all in attendance, as well as members of the clergy and notable Belizeans from home and abroad.
After the crowning and speeches the crowd made its way through the city, growing in numbers and enthusiasm as it went.
For us, the growth, exuberance and success of such a large peaceful gathering is another indication of Belize City’s growing maturity and the peaceful coexistence that can be seen in such a melting pot of diverse individuals. We’re sorry that we weren’t there to take part in the parade this year, so we’ll close with the words of the Guardian reporter who was,
“Today we are an independent and free nation….Large countries will not dictate our policies; billionaires will not control our economy. In the words of our Prime Minister, ‘We are masters of our own destiny.’ It is that unique pride in our homeland that motivated the Flowers Bank 14 to paddled dories for miles to cast votes to fight. It is that same pride in our homeland that assures Belizeans at home and abroad that our best days as a nation are still ahead us. And it is that same pride that is the Belize in you and Belize in me. This is the land of the free and no event provides such an opportunity to express that freedom like the Tenth of September parade.”
Well said, and Happy Belizean Independence Month, everyone!