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Sep 19, 2023

The 12th Annual National Service Day Wreath Laying Ceremony

Thirteen years after the death of the Father of the Nation, the Right Honorable George Price, at the age of ninety-two, continues to be held in high regard. One of the annual events held in his remembrance is the National Service Day Wreath Laying Ceremony. As has been done in years past, the ceremony was held at his gravesite at the Lord Ridge Cemetery with a large gathering of Belizeans in attendance. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Dian Maheia, the C.E.O. in the Ministry of Education, stood in as the representative for the Governor General during the Twelfth Annual Wreath Laying Ceremony for National Service Day. A host of other government officials, public officers and the Leader of the Opposition, Moses “Shyne” Barrow, also attended the event at the Lord Ridge Cemetery. Students from several primary schools, as well as the Belize High School, also participated in today’s activity.


Father Jeremy Zipple

Father Jeremy Zipple, Officiating Minister

“I was talking to Mr. Juan Carlos, he is one of the Publics owners and a petitioner at St Martin and he said, he told me this story, he said one time he had walked into Holy Redeemer at the early five a.m. mass back when they had it and there was Mr. Price and he would go to this mass and it came time for the euchres prayer when everyone kneeled down but he had some back problems so he couldn’t kneel down so he did a yoga pose kind of thing on the floor of the church and afterwards Mr. Price approached this young man and said, sir this is a catholic church I don’t know what you are doing  but we don’t do that here. Juan Carlos said to him in reply, I am sorry sir but I just have some back problems and I can’t kneel down and I was doing that instead. Mr. Price just states, keep in mind he is about ninety-years old, he shook his head and said you would have think, I would have learnt the most important words of Jesus, judge not lest you be judged. I still have some work to do before I die.”


Halfway through the ceremony the dark clouds that covered the skies above burst open, sending everyone scrambling for shelter, except for these soldiers who stood by Price’s gravesite. Notwithstanding the rains, students from St. Luke Methodist performed a brilliant rendition of the song “Welcome to Belize”. Also, two of George Price’s great grandnieces from Belize High School recited excerpts from two of his speeches.


Saint Luke Methodist Primary

Saint Luke Methodist Primary

“On the distant Horizon far across the blue sea, lies a land fill with mystery. Feel the warmth of the shining sun, feel the cool of the breeze. Hear the sound of the roaring waves coming to you and me. Welcome to Belize, land so free.”


Zoe Zabaneh

Zoe Zabaneh, B.H.S. Student

“Belizeans, unite to build our nation. Builders, why do you stand looking out to sea? Belizean builders, see the living beauty with teeming bounty, the soul moving glory. Look west Belizean builders; see the shining mountains on the jeweled city of Mopan, radiating, light and hope and joy. After all, the quickest and most efficient way to build the new nation of Belize is by using our own energy and conserving our assets.”


Sophia Usher

Sophia Usher, B.H.S. Student

“As we build our new nation Belize, it will be well for us to learn the lessons of history and thus to avoid errors and needless suffering of the past. My government has the duty and the task to lead us, this country, to independence in a peaceful and bloodless manner and thus to prove to history that Christian democracy solution is right. It is right that in unity there should be diversity, but first there should be unity. All should be of one mind concerning the fundamentals of nationhood, one identity, one nation, once constitutions, one democracy.”


In his keynote address, Deputy Prime Minister Cordel Hyde pondered what the Right Honorable George Price would say to Belizeans in 2023, if he was alive.


Cordel Hyde

Cordel Hyde, Deputy Party Leader, P.U.P.

“I often think of what he would say if he was living in these times. He would probably say a prayer for us, for this new Belize where our parents can be too taken up with their own vanity and our children too mindless consumers of the social media. This new Belize where we are so divided and go at each other’s throats in a New York minute, where often times disagreement evolve into vicious takedowns and open violence, where our young men kill each other at will. He will say a prayer because he was a prayerful man. He would pray for the almighty to please protect and preserve Belize our beloved country that we be preserved in union and peace which the world cannot give.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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