Joined by Officials of Government, several members of the Tubman family and a crowd of onlookers, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf reverently laid a wreath on the tomb of Liberia’s 18th President, William V.S. Tubman, on the occasion of his 119th birth anniversary yesterday.
The ceremony at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion on Ashmun Street in Monrovia was carried out with all the dignity and respect befitting her predecessor whom President Sirleaf described as “one loved by the people, who steered the country through an era of sustained peace, cohesion and stability for nearly three decades of our history.”
She said, “We have come to memorialize President Tubman for starting the country on the path of development, democracy and freedom; the fight against colonialism, sustained peace and stability.”
President Sirleaf said in spite of criticisms, she was “pleased and blessed to fulfill such an humble obligation of wreath-laying since her ascendancy”, adding that her administration “has been able to solidify the peace during her 12-year reign by embarking on and scrupulously implementing critical national agenda.”
On behalf of his family, President Tubman’s son, John Hilary, thanked President Sirleaf and the Government for the manner of respect accorded the memory of their late father and statesman.
Former Foreign Affairs Minister Olubanke King-Akerele read a historical letter written on May 7, 1971 to the late President Tubman by the Federation of Women in Sierra Leone. The letter paid tribute to President Tubman for his heroic determination and fortitude in supporting the enactment of legislation granting suffrage to Liberian women.
The letter further passionately recognized scores of Liberian women who made history, including Elizabeth Collins, Liberia’s first female senator, and Angie Brooks-Randolph, first female president of the United Nations General Assembly. The letter also predicted the election of a female president to unmask the jinx of “Mr. President versus Madam President.” The letter is available to the public at the National Museum in Monrovia.
President Tubman’s birthday on November 29 is one of Liberia’s much anticipated holidays when Liberians flock to the beaches and other entertainment sites for a day of fun and relaxation.