MONROVIA-When some free slaves from America returned and settled in 1822, little did they know that one day, a young former international soccer star would one day become president and celebrate their settlement and call for peace and unity.
So, on Friday January 7, 2022, Liberians and non-Liberians trooped to the historical Providence Island, the place the settlers landed with their Male Flower shape in search for a place for free slaves in the year 1822.
The program was the official launching ceremony of the observance of the 200 hundred years of existence as a country.
As part of the celebration of the bicentennial, the government of Liberia organized program to have the year commemorated with festival through the whole year.
At the Bicentennial Celebration, there were display of different cultures.
People were seen dressed in their African clothing like native traditional chiefs who were on the ground before the settlers came while others dressed like the settlers.
At the same time, there were mask cancers representing the 15 Counties of Liberia.
The Gio, Vai, Lorma and other mask dancers displayed their traditional dance.
The event also witnessed students and other nationals gathering in celebration of the day.
Members of the Liberian legislature, those from the diplomatic missions, government officials were also in attendance.
Speaking at the official program, President Weah said in Liberia, national unity and reconciliation is the cornerstone to all national development efforts, and is the basis for combating all forms of discrimination and exclusion.
He said as a country which has emerged from a divided past and a recent civil war, reconciliation and unity is the only option for survival and continuity as a nation.
“We must therefore continue to embrace the tenets of National Unity as we move forward – together – towards becoming a reconciled and democratic nation, whose citizens are at peace with themselves, their neighbors, and the world” President Weah said.
He added that redefining Liberia’s identity and building a shared sense of nationalism should be at the center of reconciliation in Liberia, adding that the model for genuine national unity and reconciliation should be inspired and founded on positive cultural values, citizenship building, good governance, economic empowerment, and the rule of law.
“As we commemorate our National Bicentennial, let us recollect memories of all of our ancestors — their various ways of life, their respective histories and cultures, and the way they co-existed with each other as long-lost brothers and sisters returned to the Land to form a unique and united country” he said.
He said, “I have been invited by the National Bicentennial Steering Committee to speak to you today about National Unity and Reconciliation.”
He said the committee choice of topic for this occasion is appropriate, because during this Bicentennial year, Liberians must redouble their efforts to promote unity amongst all Liberians, wherever they may reside, and encourage all to make meaningful contributions to the nation-building task of Liberia.
Speaking, President Weah extended an olive branch to the (opposition) inviting the leadership of all Political Parties and other National leaders, to the official opening Ceremony of the 2022 National Bicentennial Commemoration expected February 14, 2022.