At this year’s National Heroes Day celebrations, to be held Monday, 54 “pioneers” and 15 “early pioneers” who have contributed to Cayman over the years in a variety of ways will be recognized and honored.
They will each receive an insignia pin designed by the National Heroes Day Committee and the Government Information Services’ marketing and communications design team.
The pin’s colors echo those of the Cayman Islands flag and coat of arms. This year’s design was created by Charles Gilman, manager of GIS Graphic Design Unit.
The overall shape is based on the coat of arms. It features three turtles representing Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, and a catboat, which highlights maritime history and Cayman’s close connection to the sea.
A sailor featured on the pin represents the seafarers who left their mark in the maritime world, while the sailor’s thatch echoes the importance of thatch in daily life in the early years of the islands. There are also thatch trees on the pin, representing the traditional thatch-rope industry.
The stone wall on the pin detailing represents traditional building methods used in the Cayman Islands.
For those who didn’t get a chance to pick up the 10th anniversary Heroes Day coin from last year’s celebrations, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority still has a limited supply for sale at its currency division in the Government Administration building.
Designed by Caymanian graphic designer Kara Coe of Government Information Services, the silver coin features a number of Heroes Day themes, including: sailors, representing youth, culture and sports; a woman, representing gender equality; catboats, representing the three islands of Cayman; and ‘Man-o-war’ frigate birds. All are enveloped in thatch rope, another historical symbol. The coat of arms is depicted in gold on the obverse side.
Meanwhile, one local businessman has introduced a product that enables drivers to inhale sweeter smelling air in their vehicles, all in the name of national pride.
Managing director of KPA Graphics, Patrick Asmussen, said he came up with the idea during a recent trip to Canada, where he discovered some air fresheners in the shape of the Canadian flag.
“I began noticing vehicles on island were displaying flags from other countries but not a Cayman flag, and so I decided to introduce one. It just seemed like the right thing to do,” he said.
He said he hoped the item would help promote patriotism in the Cayman Islands, as well as to encourage drivers to “ride with pride.”
Marco Archer, minister of finance and economic development, assisted in getting the venture off the ground. “It’s a positive promotion for the Cayman Islands in both the local and tourist market,” he said. “It also lends itself to the development of small business entrepreneurship and future employment.”
The Cayman flag air-fresheners are available in four scents: coconut, lemon, lavender and ocean and will be sold at Foster’s Food Fair, Kirk Market, Hurley’s, Cost-U-Less, Reflections and A.L. Thompson’s.
National Heroes Day celebrations will kick off at 9 a.m. Monday in Heroes Square in George Town.
“On this day, we come together annually to mark the accomplishments and contributions of deserving Caymanians from all walks of life to the Cayman Islands community,” said Minister of Health, Youth, Sports and Culture, Osbourne Bodden.
“This year, we pay a special tribute to our cultural heritage pioneers and we honor persons who have made significant contributions to the ongoing development of the Cayman Islands,” he added.
The theme of this year’s Heroes Day is “Cultural Heritage.” Residents have nominated individuals who have helped build local culture to receive National Heroes Day Awards in the categories of Early Pioneers, Pioneers, Memorial Scroll, Long Service and Emerging Pioneers.
Protocol Coordinator Meloney Syms said citations for bravery will be presented to five people for their “exceptional courage in keeping the Cayman Islands community safe for all citizens.”
This year’s celebrations will include songs by a youth choir and Cayman Folk Singers, a performance by Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette, and a parade of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service band and detachments of RCIPS, Fire Service, Prison Service, Cadet Corps, Girls Brigade, Scouts, Cub Scouts and Seventh-day Adventists Pathfinders.
After the ceremony, heritage displays will be on show at the Town Hall, as well as live entertainment, and free refreshments in the George Town Public Library.
Invited guests are advised to wear business attire and are asked to be seated by 8:30 a.m. Monday. In the event of rain, the ceremony will move to First Baptist Church on Crewe Road.