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We owe so much to our seniors

Most of the values we consider vital for a healthy community were handed down form previous generations who toiled through terrible storms of economic hardship and misguided periods of social injustice that threatened but never broke the spirit of those who believed that what was right, would always triumph over wrong.

Many of our Bermudian seniors, who played key roles in the long struggle to seek a better Bermuda never had their names on the front page, and yet their quiet persistence that life was meant to be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of skin colour, or religious persuasion, eventually broke down barriers that were instituted by post-slavery authorities, designed to ensure certain sections of the community were not given the full blessing of total freedom.

Sadly, in reviewing history both here and in other parts of the world, it is often forgotten that the struggle involved people of all races and creeds with many black and white giving their lives for a cause they knew was just and right. We have many seniors still with us who carry a treasure chest of experience of challenges that were overcome mainly because their inner faith was stronger than the odds they were confronted with.

They knew it would never be a perfect world, but they also knew Bermuda would be a better place if we saw each other as brothers and sisters vying for the happiness that every citizen should be entitled to. Our successful tourist industry was accomplished because Bermudians looked beyond the social obstacles, and displayed a spirit of goodwill that became a trademark of a place were friendliness and natural beauty were unbeatable.

We owe much to our seniors for staying at the wheel when the ship was tossing and turning in the rough seas of life, for, without that steadfast attitude, it is not likely Bermuda would be the place we have today. Certainly there is still much work to be done make life better for all Bermudians especially our seniors. Many seniors are too tired and worn out to complain about anything and with old fashioned dignity they simply hope things will get better. It is always good to keep hope alive.

It was that hope that drove the great civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King, and also sustained Nelson Mandela throughout his wrongful imprisonment. Mandela would later emerge as South Africa’s first black president. Both men accomplished much, not from seeking revenge but instead by planting seeds of unity between all people in order to build a better world.

Technology has made the world a much smaller place and despite great strides towards decency and respect there are still deeply troubled spots on this planet where true justice is still a dream.

The opportunity we have in Bermuda is that we should be able to show the world that diversity and political differences must never over ride what is right and just for all. Many young people today act as though seniors don’t matter.

That needs to change with restoration of great family values. Even China with a history of human rights issues, recently passed a law that mandates grown children to visit their parents of face consequences. Somewhat extreme in this part of the world, but the bottom line is that our seniors remain the guidepost for values that are essential in keeping Bermuda moving in the right direction.

They are worthy of being honoured and respected.

Photo by Mark Tatem Seniors laugh at a joke during an awards luncheon to kick off Seniors Week yesterday.

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Published July 03, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated July 02, 2013 at 5:35 pm)

We owe so much to our seniors

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