Antigua and Barbuda, my beautiful twin island country celebrates it’s anniversary of Independence on the 1st of November.
On that day in 1981 Antigua and Barbuda was officially recognised as an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations. Relinquishing British rule for sovereignty, the country celebrated with its first Prime Minister the Honourable Vere Cornwall Bird Snr.
It’s been 34 years and while the country may not be perfect its been on a road of consistent development while plagued with many challenges; some internal and some external.
There have been many roads traveled to get to these 34 years and many more to go but hope springs eternal.
As an Antiguan living abroad, I celebrate with those living in the country and with all the Antiguans and Barbudans in the diaspora. I’m always a bit nostalgic at this time of year whenever I think of the week-long celebrations hosted during Independence.
I remember wearing the all white of my school’s ceremonial uniform with my red sash (the colour of my House) and singing patriotic songs while marching through the streets of St. John’s. All of the schools on the island participate in this Youth Rally for Independence and they march to the Antigua Recreation Grounds (A.R.G.) where they put on Drill displays that are beautiful to behold.
The National Food Fair is also a great event held during this time and patrons get a chance to sample traditional and local foods, sweets, drinks and delicacies.
Last year I cooked a traditional meal (Ducana and Saltfish) in honour of Independence. I didn’t get a chance to this yesterday but I probably will on the weekend. 🙂
As the festivities continue this week, I send warm wishes for another year of growth and prosperity for the country and its citizens. I share here the second verse of the national anthem, which also happens to be my favourite.
Raise the standard! Raise it boldly!
Answer now to duty’s call
Sparing nothing giving all;
Gird your loins and join the battle
‘Gainst fear, hate and poverty,
Each endeavouring, all achieving,
Live in peace where man is free.
And I shall end with the words for “God Bless Antigua”:
God bless Antigua, land so dear to me
Where first I felt a mother’s hand and learn to bend the knee.
Where land and sea make beauty, let every man be free;
To proudly hold his head up high, and walk with dignity.
Bless all her people, enter all her doors
And may thy peace forever dwell within her shores.
God bless Antigua, land of sun and sea.
Bless all her fruits and crops and flowers, with harvest bounteously.
May brother walk with brother; in fellowship and peace,
And banish hate and fear and want, her unity increase.
God bless our nation, grant us grace that we
May each endeavour all achieve In pleasing Thee.
Happy 34th Independence Antigua & Barbuda! ❤ CN