LIBERIA: 2022 Flag Day Orator Preaches Unity, Says ‘Disunity Will Pull Us Apart’

Dr. Laurence Konmla Bropleh

The former Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Dr. Laurence Konmla Bropleh serving as this year’s National Flag Day Orator Rev. Dr. Laurence Konmla Bropleh, said if Liberians allow disunity to put them against one another, the consequences would be lack of development, economic growth, education, quality healthcare, and prosperity.

He stresses that disagreements among citizens will only pull the country apart, rather than unite it.

Dr. Bropleh, also current Special Envoy and Advisor to President George Manneh Weah delivered the keynote address at celebration of 175th Flag Day held Wednesday, August 24, at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion on Ashmun Street, Monrovia.

See below full text of the speech delivered:

H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, and the First Lady;

Chief Dr. Jewel Howard – Taylor, Vice President of the Republic of Liberia;

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives;

Mr. President Pro – Tempore and Members of the Liberian Senate;

Your Honor the Chief Justice and  Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia;

The Dean and Members of the Cabinet;

The Chief of Staff and Men and Women of the Armed Forces of Liberia;

The Doyen and Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps;

Foreign Guests; International Partners and Friends;

Religious and Political Leaders;

Cultural and Traditional Leaders; Members of the Fourth Estate; Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

I deem it a singular honor to serve as the 175th Flag Day Orator of the Republic of Liberia. What a privilege!

This privileged task given me would never have come at a more exciting time than today when our nation, our people, more than ever before, must be reminded to deeply reflect on the allegiance to our country that we all invoke each time we solemnly recite the Pledge of allegiance to the Flag and to the Republic for which it stands.  At this 175th celebration of our Flag, the chosen theme is: “THE LONESTAR, A SYMBOL OF UNITY AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.”

As a people who have chosen a free land as a more ideal place to preserve our own liberty, freedom and happiness, our Flag must always remind us of the great sacrifices our forefathers and mothers made to settle here and lay a solid foundation of unity, love, and patriotism that must reign endlessly throughout our land for generations to come.

Growing up in Upper Buchanan, part of the former colony, the Bassa Cove,  I was taught by my late mother, Joanna Elizabeth Davis Bropleh, a Public School Teacher during my kindergarten years that of the very cardinal things that we always do is we often invoke allegiance to our country, the Republic of Liberia, each time we salute the Flag and say:

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of Liberia, and to the Republic for which it stands; one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Flags, including the Flag of the Republic of Liberia, have their origins in ancient history, and today, they are even regarded as superior to many other national emblems.

Some historians have suggested that ancient leaders, towns, ships, merchants, communities, and gods, were symbolized by different flags.

And because of whom or what a particular flag represented, it is said that such a flag gained the same respect as that ruler, community, town, ship or gods.

Therefore, losing a flag in a battle was deemed a severe setback for the rival.

All of this tells us how significant our Flag is to us as a nation; it is the true representation of a country and its people – regardless of their political, religious, cultural and social diversities.

As Liberians, a people united by a singular goal of seeking to live as a free and independent people from the humiliating bondage of slavery, torture and abuse, we can only remind ourselves that it’s only through unity, patriotism, love and co-existence that we can keep the light of freedom shining on the African continent.

For this was the true essence of the enormous sacrifices that our forefathers and mothers made when they risked their lives through the Atlantic and daringly chose a path of return to their ancestral homeland in Africa.

They chose to find a place – free of slavery and inhumane bondage –  now called the Republic of Liberia, where after many years of work, they would raise the Red, White and Blue Flag with a white star in its canton (filed), representing the first independent state in Africa after suffering hundreds of years of slavery in the Americas.

The returnees and the indigenous, after uniting and inhabiting this land for over 200 years as one people, and one nation, must not be seen again in this 21st century, tearing each other apart, and fighting against each other in a way that only sets the stage to bring our country down on the basis of our political differences.

If we allow our political decisions, our religious differences, and other disagreements to continue to pull us apart rather than unite us, the consequences will be a broken society.

If we allow disunity to put us against each other, rather than embrace one another, the consequences would be the lack of development, economic growth, education, quality healthcare, and prosperity for ourselves and our posterity.

All of us, no matter our tribe, our religion, political party, age, education and class, we belong to one nation and we pay allegiance to one Flag, the Red, White and Blue national ensign.

The true thrust of our flag is symbolistic and symbiotic – mutualism, commensalism, understanding that as a national symbol we find a sense of belonging, inextricably tied together in order to meet the foe, with valor unpretending, for what affects Grand Gedeh, affects Grand Bassa; what affects Capemount affects the people of Cape Palmas; what affects Nimba, affects Lofa; what affects River Gee affects Rivercess; what affects Gbarpolu affects Sinoe; what affects Bomi affects Bong; what affects Margibi affects Grand Kru, and what affects all 14 counties, deeply impacts Montserrado County.

Hence, we are in this together, no one is more Liberian than the other, so when we find ourselves awakened to the dawn of a new day, let us strive to peaceably move our nation forward and not backward, upward and not downward by the things we do and say about our nation and each other.

Literally on a daily basis, we pledge allegiance to one Flag and to the nation for which it stands, and we cannot do this just for formality. When we do it, let’s reflect deeply on how far we have come and where we ought to be as Africa’s first independent country. See it as symbolistic and symbiotic, for we must feed positively of each other, not for ourselves, but for our ONE Flag and ONE nation, Liberia.

Let’s reflect a bit, putting aside politics, and realize that with unity we can move faster together in the overall interest of our country.

And let’s reflect further and charge ourselves with the responsibility to make patriotic and nationalistic contributions through the political and social decisions we make to the promotion of peace and unity for our country.

Let there be no iota of ambiguity in the expression of the love we must exhibit for our Flag, for it represents our sense of belonging as a people to our nation Liberia.

Let us handle our Flag with great respect, for when we do that, we will handle Liberians with respect and our Nation as well. We must at all times seek the oneness of our nation.

Let not our quest for political power lead us down meandering roads of destructive engagements whose outcomes would be inimical to the survival of the ONE nation our Flag stands for.

We can’t afford to reverse the gains we have made since the end of our two civil wars that only brought prolonged suffering, increased the level of illiteracy, poverty and disease in the society and caused thousands of lives and properties worth millions of dollars to be destroyed, and in some cases, looted and vandalized.

The path to development, national growth and transformation of our country Liberia is irreversible.

The path to inclusion of all in the decision – making process of our country, the path to availing our country to friendly partners and other nations and investors for economic and infrastructural growth are irreversible.

The path to unhindered human capital development, the path to freedom of thought, association, speech and religious tolerance, are  irreversible paths.

We must remain on an irreversible path of respecting the rule of law and allowing our justice system to work independently for everyone, regardless of their social or political opinions, connections, alignment, and differences.

Today as we celebrate our 175th Flag Day, let’s also remember that the flag represents an idea, and that it is not just a mere piece of cloth that is intended for  decoration. Our Flag must be seen as symbolistic and symbiotic, it ties and binds us together.

As Liberians, our Flag stands as a Lighthouse, steering and guiding each of us to calm shores where our school going children will be taught in their civic classes the value of the Flag, how it stands for respect and not disrespect, dignity and not inhumanity, love and not hate, reconciliation and peaceful co-existence as a people, that symbiotic guidance that invigorates us to seek the ‘We consciousness’.

As patriots, let’s hold the Flag in high esteem, knowing deep down in our hearts that it is our country that it represents.

It is no argument that one of the many ways we can demonstrate true patriotism and loyalty to our country is by showing respect for our Flag.

That‘s why for me, like many of us here, we take pride in flying the national ensign because we know it is a symbol of patriotism and loyalty to our country.

In 15 months, our nation will hold General and Presidential elections. It is no secret that there will be bitter exchanges of words and not blows during the period of campaigning, and elections will be held, the votes counted and winners announced, all of this while we as a people must be cognizant that we must keep the peace.

Borrowing from President Barack Obama and instigating a bit of contextualize relevance, I am of the deepest conviction that no matter how bitter our politics may be, the Liberian instinct should never be to find isolation in opposite corners, instead it must be to find strength in our common creed, to forge unity from our great diversity, to maintain that strength and unity even when it is hard.

And, when the election is over, as a people, keeping our eyes on the Flag symbolistically and symbiotically, we must find ways to come together, to reconnect with one another and with the principles that are more enduring than transitory politics.

Our Flag has six red stripes, five white stripes and a blue field, or canton, bearing a white star.

A committee of women who designed the Liberian Flag put a white star in the canton which symbolized the status of Liberia as the lone independent state in Africa, then.

The eleven stripes on the Flag represent the eleven men who signed the Liberian Declaration of Independence on July 26, 1847.

After the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Flag was first raised on August 24, 1847, and the day is now known as the Flag Day.

Value your Flag, respect your Flag, raise your Flag and keep Liberia peaceful.

Happy Flag  Day to all Liberians, home and abroad.

God Bless Liberia.

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