I Humbly Salute Them in their Graves


By F. Shelton Gonkerwon

On tomorrow March 13, 2019 which is declared National Decoration Day tears and fresh memories of sorrow will certainly be ushering thousands of Liberian mourners and residents alike to grave sites in various locations of the country to decorate the respective graves housing their deceased. This event is constitutionally set aside every Second Wednesday in March each year to demonstrate national respect to those who have departed the surface of the earth one way or the other.

Obviously, it often alerts the conscious mind that the grave is an assured and unavoidable home of all mankind simply because death is the imminent instrument that has and continues to sever human beings from the earth surface at the appointed time. Accordingly, every day that turns or every time that leaps on the clock where mankind dwells has its assigned death rate likewise birth rate on a proportionally alarming basis.

Indeed, it’s evidently clear that every day is accompanied by its assigned joy as it is with sorrow. Certainly, every day has its share of wise people who think positively and act accordingly, while at the same time, the fools remain blind and insensitive to the calling of reality in favor of triviality.

Every day has its own patriotic chiefs who are reserved and guided in line with the tradition of defined leadership aimed at stabilizing society, while at the same time there are thieves who would creep under the cover of darkness to rob innocent people of their hard-earned properties. That’s the nature of life-a platform of certainties and uncertainties, truth and falsehood, poverty and prosperity, among other things, consistent with the doctrine of life.

Hence, one can safely conclude that no one has permanent resident status here on earth, not even members of the noble kingdom, not even those who have wealth and would feel that their financial vestments can prevent them from death. Like the sun that struggles to pass through the domain of the dark cloud as it performs its daily duty, the human beings are challenged by the countless odds of life from the day of birth to the day of death.

From where I sit on the floor of the jammed packed city of Monrovia, a city that is struggling to get used to a novel administration and being unable to form part of the queue that will be marching to the grave sites to decorate the graves of their deceased in line with the calling of the day, the floor of my mind is already playing host to the fresh memories of my fallen parents — Barpaye Zeagbea, Lawo Zaguah, Daylee Kregbein and Gonkerwon Karnleahfehn — my grandparents and parents, respectively.

It is all too obvious that my ears (like the ears of others), are being refreshed by those sugary words of wisdom my parents offered me during my prime by which, I was nurtured along the way in life, thereby keeping me enhanced and stimulated in time like these when wisdom has become the core requirement to pierce through the world where temptation has become more like the hostile wind.

I am grateful to these fallen heroes and heroines for making me who I am today, though physically poor, yet rich in dignity and honesty supplemented by spiritual guidance. Their places in my mind can be likened to the thrones of the kings simply because the blessings they endowed me in reciprocation of my obedience has and continue to make me defined rangers in the face of assorted dangers, especially at a time when love is at the battlefront with hatred, truth is being dared by falsehood, while the culture of deception has become awesome. Hence they will forever remain honorably seated in my mind that houses their indelible graves, which will continue to shine even more than the face of the evening star.

I humbly salute them and all other departed souls hoping that they are comfortably resting in the bosom of Abraham, and listed as prospective qualified candidates for eternity. It’s my hope also that as the graves are decorated, the people of the land will equally decorate their minds in terms of generating the sense of patriotism and nationalism to harvest the necessary vision to give the nation a look that resembles or represents the face of civilization.

A nation is decorated when its citizens rise above the culture of greed and selfishness; discover the secret of defined national life with the vow to graduate from the ugly past.

A nation is decorated whose citizens will submit to the doctrine of national love as opposed to letting hatred sever them apart.

About the author: F. Shelton Gonkerwon, a practicing Liberian Journalist and a Poet, holds a Bachelor Degree from the University of Liberia. He authored “Dark Freedom: a Gloomy Tale of Once a War Divided Liberia.” He is one of Liberia’s progressing writers whose works are steadily surfacing to the notice of the outside world.


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