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NEWS  

Lowell Community in Massachusetts Celebrates Sierra Leone Independence Day
By Sallieu H. Conteh, The New Rising Sun, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA
May 9, 2009, 15:21
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Sierra Leoneans in Lowell, Massachusetts last weekend celebrated Sierra Leones 48th Independence Anniversary with a flag raising ceremony at the Lowell City Hall. The Sierra Leone flag, the green, white and blue was raised at a flag pole by Sierra Leoneans youths in the Community and the flag will be flying there for a week.

In his Proclamation, the Mayor of the City of Lowell, Honorable Edward C. Caulfield recalled forty-eight years ago, nearly half a century of Colonial Rule, Sierra Leone gained her Independence from Great Britain, thus librating a nation of talented people from the yoke of foreign occupation, domination and exploitation: thereby providing a climate for self rule and move towards nationalism.

Unfortunately, Mayor Edward Caulfield said, the country quickly slid into tribalism, nepotism, gross mismanagement and corruption, thus unleashing a succession of economic, social and political malaise that culminated into a brutal rebel war that lasted for almost 11 years.

The historic City of Lowell, the Mayor told Sierra Leoneans would open its arms to them in their  search for safety, security, prosperity and he also remembered those who died in defense of the new found peace and hopes that they would find a better future, unity and development among nations.

The Mayor declared May, 2nd 2009 as Sierra Leone Day and urged all citizens to join in the celebration.

The guest speaker for the flag raising ceremony was Mr. James Rogers who said that after forty-eight years of Sierra Leone Independence from Britain, Sierra Leoneans are still talking about tribalism. He called on all Sierra Leoneans to borrow the words of a great American President, John F. Kennedy, who said long time ago to Americans Ask not what your Country can do for you, ask what you can do for Country.  He appealed to every Sierra Leonean to do away with tribalism for the common good of Sierra Leone.

The celebration continued with a dinner and dance. The guest speaker for that ceremony was the Sierra Leonean born Lawyer, Attorney Ishmael Thoronka who reminded Sierra Leoneans that regardless of our differences, values, tribes, economic and political status, we still have one thing in common that binds us together which is our nationality and our culture as Sierra Leoneans.  He asked Sierra Leoneans to put aside their differences, forget about past disputes and come together as a community by showing concern for each other.

Attorney Thoronka said as Sierra Leoneans mark April 27th as Sierra Leones Independence Day celebration, this was the time in history that our forefathers used the same concept of Integration by coming together to give us a better life. He also said that Integration in a nutshell is being inclusive, a concept used by communities in which people with diverse backgrounds come together with the common goal of improving their community.

He reminded Sierra Leoneans that the Independence Day celebration should serve as a reminder that Sierra Leone was built on the foundation of LOVE and UNITY as evidence in third line of the National Anthem, which reads FIRMLY UNITED EVER WE STAND.  As Sierra Leoneans living in United States, we ought to be united regardless of our busy lives, he concluded.     


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