Tomorrow Is Decoration Day, Thursday J.J. Roberts’ Birthday
Tomorrow, March 14 is Decoration Day, a day that people remember their dearly departed by gathering at cemeteries and laying wreaths over the tombs.
Decoration Day and Joseph Jenkins Roberts Birthday, like other national days are proclaimed days ahead of the main holidays, but up to press time last night, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could not come out with proclamations on behalf of the President informing the general public about these successive holidays.
The Legislature, having realized the significance of roles the deceased played in the lives of individuals and the existence of the nation, enacted and approved a law on October 24, 1916, declaring the second Wednesday in March of every year as Decoration Day.
The day allows the living to cherish and remember their deceased relatives, families and friends.
Such national holidays when proclaimed days ahead of time, inform the public whether government offices, schools and businesses will be open.
Meanwhile, the 209th birth anniversary of Liberia’s first President, Joseph Jenkins Roberts follows Decoration Day on Thursday, March 15 as a national holiday.
Like Decoration Day, J.J. Roberts Birthday was not also proclaimed ahead of time.
The day was set aside through legislative enactment by the 42nd Legislature, declaring March 15 of each year as a national holiday to commemorate the birth anniversary of Liberia’s first president, J.J. Roberts.
Remembering Joseph Jenkins Roberts comes with contributions he made in getting Liberia to gain sovereignty in 1847. While powerful nations, including Great Britain and France were threatening the sovereignty of Liberia, J.J. Roberts was one person whose strategic plan to call for a constitutional convention led to declaration of independence in 1847.
Roberts became the first President and served for two terms from 1848-1856, and then from 1872-1876.
He also served as the first President of Liberia College (now the University of Liberia). History recalls J.J. Roberts for bequeathing a huge portion of land to the United Methodist Church, for the purpose of assistance to people through scholarship.
His gesture still lives today as evidenced by the J.J. Roberts Foundation that provides scholarships for many Liberians.