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Feb 27, 2001

Pledge to flag initiated in schools

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As Belizeans, we are known as a proud people… but pride does not always translate into patriotism. Today the Ministry of Human Development took a step to promote nationalistic feelings in our young people as part of its Civic Education Programme. Jose Sanchez was on hand for the flag raising at St. John Vianney Primary School in Belize City.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The purpose of the new programme is to encourage respect for our national symbols. Students will now make a pledge by placing their right hand across their heart while they recite the “Tribute to the Belizean Flag.”

Students, Reciting “Tribute to the Belizean Flag”

“As we unfurl your colours true,

The white, the scarlet and royal blue,

We pledge allegiance and with pride

Salute you, on your heavenward ride.

We pledge to make you always fly

In this our bit of land and sky.

May the unity for which you stand,

Infuse each heart, and join each hand

Making us one against all foes

As under God, our nation grows.

And so we say

Fly high!

Fly Proud!

Fly free!

Always our standard be.”

The author of the poem, educator Corinth Morter Lewis, has been thinking nationalistic thoughts for many years.

Corinth Morter Lewis

“It was written way back in 1981. That was when we got our independence. And at the time the children we had at the Belize Technical College, the students we had were very patriotic students. And I was sort of in the habit of writing patriotic type poems and I just felt that at independence it was really a good time and a good opportunity to write a poem that would be patriotic that would sort of galvanize students around the fact that we were getting our independence. And the flag for me at that time was a very important symbol.”

Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Min. of Human Development

“The idea of it is to mainly get the school children in schools countrywide to recite the poem. Once having committed it to memory, do that recitation of the “Tribute to the Belizean Flag” at a weekly flag raising ceremony at schools, so we can promote civic pride, patriotism, nationalism, especially in our youths. It’s so important that from young, the children get to have the pride and nationalism in our country.”

The minister delivered parcels containing flags to various school representatives. And after the ceremony, it was clear that the seed of nationalism had already been planted in some primary school students.

Mark Richards, Student

“It just makes me feel proud, about the flag, respectful, educational, and just makes me feel proud of the country that I live in.”

Alex Bodden, Student

“I feel good and we need to honor our flag and that the flag is really an important part of this country. I felt good when Marion Jones ran with it.”

Monique Matura, Student

“I feel proud of my country because of the flag. The flag makes the country be a more important place.”

Joelene Bowen, Student

“Well I feel very proud because before this I didn’t feel anyway about my country, but since this flag has been displayed. I feel very proud of my flag, to me it signifies love.”

And hopefully that love will not be confined to the classroom. Reporting for News 5, Jose Sanchez.

The pledge and flag raising ceremony will be conducted on a weekly basis at all the nation’s primary schools.

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