Fitting tribute for a national hero
On behalf of Imagine Bermuda, as well as partners, the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and the Chewstick Foundation, I would like to thank all who rallied together for the Celebration of the 120th Anniversary of the Birth of National Hero Dr EF Gordon, held on Friday.
Notwithstanding the fact that this anniversary came to our attention belatedly, there was an enthusiasm by a cross-section of our community to collaborate, to expand awareness of this significant chapter of our shared heritage, and express our collective gratitude to those on whose shoulders we stand.
Special appreciation goes to the 40 or so students from various senior schools, who played a key part in this cross-generational observance.
The CedarBridge band under the direction of Tiffany Fox, the great granddaughter of local music icon Maud Fox, played a prelude to welcome those attending the noon-time event, prior to their formal presentation. Bermuda High School’s A Cappella Group reminded the audience to Lean On Me in dulcet harmonies, notwithstanding that their director — Kate Ross — was unable to attend due a slight accident the day before.
Bria Maybury of Saltus, offered two readings from her research of that period under the direction of Dr Michelle Squire.
John Woolridge, music teacher of the Berkeley Institute provided guitar backing to Nkosi Hollis whose voice moved the audience as he delivered Redemption Song.
Shannon Wade and Corey Simas read a poem that they jointly wrote, which captured Muzombo in a way that demonstrated both their creativity and in-depth appreciation of those times; something they would have gained through the guidance of their social studies teacher at Mount Saint Agnes Academy, Chris Tannock.
In addition, we wish to thank Mayor Graeme Outerbridge for his welcoming remarks.
Also thanks to Bishop Kurtz of the Catholic Church and Rev Betty Furbert of the AME for their prayers offered.
Also appreciation goes to Kristi Grayston, President of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, and Chris Furbert, President of both the BIU and the BTUC, for their presentation that captured an overview of the life story of Dr Gordon.
Gavin Smith provided a musical welcome with his original anthem to the resilience of Bermudians over four centuries.
Our natural resource Gene Steede rolled out his amazing voice to highlight The Impossible Dream of Dr Gordon, as he was backed by pianist Ron Lightbourne.
Ed Christopher, backed by young keyboard artist Ryan Durrant closed out the occasion with Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday — a tune that was played by the Island’s various broadcasting stations at 1pm on Friday.
We highlighted the significance that in attendance at the event were some of those — or their representatives — who had picked up the baton from Dr Gordon, carrying it forward.
They included some members of the group who published An Analysis of Bermuda’s Social Ills in 1953, members of the Progressive Group and also those involved with the Committee for Universal Adult Suffrage.
They were joined by Hon Kim Wilson and Kenneth Bascome, honourary patrons, each who had a grandfather that played vital roles in the movement led by Dr Gordon. Of course, members of his family, led by Hon Pat Gordon-Pamplin were also in attendance.
We circulated 200 leaflets containing a summary-timeline of Dr Gordon’s life, along with some questions, encouraging families to use to increase awareness.
We didn’t have enough on the occasion, so that anyone who wishes to access this can email us at email@example.com.
In closing we wish to thank your very own Ira Phillip, whose Island Notebook column provided a detailed overview on Dr Gordon on Saturday.