On August 6th 1962, Jamaica became an independent nation. The hopes and aspirations of a generation began to see fruit, the nation marched under a new flag with the black, green, and gold demonstrating what it meant to be Jamaican.
Today I stand proud to call myself Jamaican. A country of just over 2.7 million people, and what may be considered a dot on the world map has made a significant impact on this world. It was Marcus Garvey that ignited the civil rights movement in the United States. It was Bob Marley that took reggae music to the world.
Our drive as a people is evident in our everyday lives. There is no doubt that our nation continues to fly our flag in the sports arena with the likes of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell and Shelly-Ann Fraiser. Jamaica is a land of greats. Every person who has suffered adversity but yet remain committed to make the best of life’s struggles, demonstrates the spirit of Jamaicans.
I will not hide the fact that Jamaica has its problems, and that the country behind the scenes of tourism has a fledging economy, and an astronomical crime rate. However after all is said and done, we remain a mystery to the world. How can a nation so small have so many great achievements? How can a country with so much adversity produce such hope among a people? That is because Jamaicans will never use their past as an obstacle to achieve greatness. We excel because we believe that regardless of our circumstances, we are good enough. As long as there is life, there is hope.
I will always be Jamaican, that will never change. So don’t think I will hide in shame when we make the headlines for negative aspects of our culture. I do not choose when I am Jamaican. I never ceased being Jamaican when Lee Boyd Malvo was found guilty of being one of the D.C. snipers. I never ceased being Jamaican when Christopher Dudus Coke made headlines as a notorious drug lord. Why? Because my being Jamaican means to encapsulate everything that defines us as a people; our struggles and our achievements So I will continue to jump for joy with our feats in track and field, and our progress in academic centers across the globe. I will dance without inhibition every time I hear reggae music blasting across the airwaves. And I will forever aim to do my best in everything I do because I am Jamaican, and being unique is what we do best. We never settle for mediocrity, because to be Jamaican, means to be the best at whatever we do.
My little Jamaica became the first english speaking Caribbean country to qualify for the soccer world cup in 1998. My little Jamaica produced Jodi-Ann Maxwell, the first non-American to win the Scripts Howard Spelling Bee competition. My little Jamaica produced the fastest man and the fastest woman in the world. It was Jamaica that showed the world that a tropical island could also produce Winter Olympians. There has been no limit with regards to what Jamaicans can accomplish.
Happy birthday Jamaica, my land of wood and water, I love you and I forever will. Everything I do, everything that I am, echoes that I am Jamaican and it is an honor I thank God for everyday.
© Dimitri Lyon and dimitrilyon.wordpress.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dimitri Lyon and dimitrilyon.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.