Barbadians took on the blazing sun to register their presence in large numbers at the Kensington Oval yesterday and become a part of history, as the nation observed the 50th Anniversary of Independence with a service of thanksgiving.
Many were seated long before the scheduled 4 p.m. start, sporting umbrellas to ward off the sun as they soaked in the pre-service entertainment of a range of spiritual renditions from a collection of Barbadian performers.
Punctuated by a number of gospel-based musical performances, the Golden Jubilee service was a religious occasion in which all faiths in Barbados were represented.
In welcoming the congregation that stretched from the Kensington field to the stands, Chairman of the Barbados Christian Council Canon Noel Burke spoke of those who live here and those returning from overseas to celebrate.
“Barbados stands as a city set on a hill, whose light continues to shine in the world as we dwell here, as we welcome persons from far and near to experience the delight of our silver sands, our crystal clear waters, and our friendly people”.
Reverend Burke said that this is a nation with visions and “our dreams are not those that fade away and become forgotten in the light of day, but those that sustain us, and keep us going despite whatever odds we may face from time to time”.
“Those aspirations and dreams inform our outlook, our educational and other systems, as we hold our own and stand strongly and politely with a co-mixture and comingling of pride and humility, amid those who have come from places with far greater resources,” he said.
Archbishop Dr John Holder, who delivered the sermon, said Barbadians must pause and reflect on how far we have travelled.
“As a nation we have not sat back and allowed the climb of time and the currents of history and the predictions of the worst to sweep us a long,” he said.
“We have made every effort to be strict guardians of our heritage and firm craftsmen of our fate. This is the spirit we need in these challenging times.”
Reverend Holder said that Barbadian spirit “emerges out of that gritty Barbadian level-headed resilience that has allowed us to keep pushing forward during the past 50 years”.
“We have taken on the world and have defied one strand of the theory of development that suggests that there must be access to a given level of natural resources if a country is to surge ahead,” he said.
“We have done it in another way. We’ve invested heavily in our people, our primary resource.”