Promotion of National Heroes Day ‘not good enough,’ residents say, and more should be made of celebration and Heroes Park

Yesterday, October 26, was National Heroes Day; but several adults said they were not aware – yet again – of the celebration.

Among a dozen people asked, two said they knew about the event.  One woman said the celebration was integrated into school work, and so, through her primary-age child, she was aware that the focus, this year, was on Prince Klaas, otherwise known as King Court.

The other person said that, since the 8 p.m. curfew, she has gotten into the  habit of watching the ABS Evening News; and through that medium, she learned that Tuesday was National Heroes Day.

However, most of the others had no clue – “no sign or conversation” – before hearing it mentioned on radio yesterday, and they agreed that the promotion of the event was “definitely not good enough.”

One business  owner says he was totally unaware “that something was up” until he saw one of his employees wearing national dress.

“I have always had a problem with the way National Heroes Day is celebrated.  Too many other persons beside Papa Bird contributed to this country for it to be all about him, like he is some god,” the businessperson said.

“Every year we have a long list of persons being awarded, knighted even, for what they did. Only a few are known to the vast majority of the public. Surely a write-up can be done on them to give a better account of their accomplishments,” he complained.

“Surely we can use the Heroes Park better than we do [and] have a proper museum honouring all the heroes who have made significant contributions to Antigua and Barbuda.  A cemetery for Papa Bird does not a Heroes Park make,” he declared.

A young professional  tells REAL News that she “never got used to National Heroes Day being squeezed into Independence, so that December 9 could be just for V.C. Bird.   So every year I need the Independence calendar or the news to remind me,” she said.

The United Progressive Party, meanwhile, continues to celebrate its acknowledged heroes on December 9, the date christened National Heroes Day by the Baldwin Spencer Administration.  That date was selected since Sir V.C. Bird was born on that day.