Whenever we ask our young people questions about Mr. Price the response is always that he was the Father of the Nation and was the leader of Independence. Indeed, these are important facts to know about Mr. Price, but there are so many more things that made Mr. Price a hero. Some of these things are yet to be written down in books, taught in school or posted on Facebook.
For example, many Belizeans do not know how brave Mr. Price was. He had to be brave to feel that he could resist both the British and the Guatemalans at the same time. There are some of us here old enough to know that the British was once the most powerful nation in the world and Mr. Price was never afraid of the British, he was respectful, he was polite, but he was never afraid. When the British tried to tell him to do something he believed was not in the best interest of Belize and of our people, he told them: “Sorry but I cannot do that because it would not be good for my people.”
Then again maybe this wasn’t just bravery, perhaps it was also his conviction because he knew he was doing the right thing. See in the 1960s and 70s there were many people who believed that our country was too small and too poor to even consider independence. They believed that we could not decide for ourselves who we were and what we were.
So what Mr. Price did was, he started to work with his friends and with others to design a flag and to make an anthem. The flag because it was a symbol to bring everyone together, Maya, Mestizo, Creole, Garifuna, every one of us when we see our flag today, we unite as Belizeans, true?
Mr. Price knew we needed that symbol of unity because he saw that united as one people, we were a much greater force than divided and so he made sure we have a symbol of unity. He made sure that long before independence we had an anthem. Our anthem was first written in 1964, 55 years ago. Our anthem is a call to action composed in such a way that it spoke of a dream – doesn’t it?
It calls on us to “get up”, to wake up and build this special place.
“Arise ye sons of the Baymen’s clan”
He wanted all of us in the 60s and 70s to wake up and work. What was our job? To build Belize. To create a land of the free and to keep it beautiful as nature had given it to us. All through his life Mr. Price wanted us to keep working together to make our country better. He did not say let us wait for someone else to come and build it for us, he believed we could build it ourselves. Mr. Price always believed in Belize and he always believed in us.
That was his vision, he saw in our school children the future builders. Girls and boys who would grow up to be teachers and farmers, business owners and computer scientists. No one could ever tell Mr. Price that our children were not as any other child anywhere in the world.
And so even as poor as we were back then and as powerful as the British were and the Guatemalan army was, he was never afraid because he knew if he gave the Belizean people a chance they would build this nation into a strong and free nation. This is why we come here on this day.
This is why we say Mr. Price is more than a hero to us because we want his work and his love and his belief in the Belizean people to always inspire us so that together we can get closer and closer to our dream of living in our land of the free by the Carib Sea.
So that even on those days when we are feeling like things are going bad, we can look at our flag and say yes, I want to join with others in building a Belize that works for everyone.