President Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has declared Wednesday, March 14, and Thursday, March 15, 2012 as “Decoration Day” and the 203rd Birth Anniversary of Joseph J. Jenkins Roberts respectively, to be observed as national holidays. The second Wednesday in March of every year is celebrated as national holiday (Decoration), during which families decorate the graves of their relatives and friends in remembrance, while March 15 is set aside to celebrate the birthday of Liberia’s first President and founding Father J. J. Roberts; and that this year, the days are in sequence.
For the Decoration Day (March 14), a Foreign Ministry release quotes the Proclamation as saying, “The Legislature of the Republic of Liberia, realizing that important events in the history of our Nation, should be constantly kept in the minds of citizens and youth of the country to inspire them to larger measures of service and patriotism did, by an Act approved October 24th, 1916, declare the Second Wednesday of March each year to be known as “Decoration Day”, and to be observed as a National Holiday. The Proclamation further orders that the National Ensign be flown at half-staff from all public buildings, military camps and private residences from 12:01 to 5:30 post meridiem in observance of the Day.
On the issue of J. J. Roberts birthday, the proclamation recalled that at the Third Session of the Forty-Second Legislature, an Act was passed declaring each Birth Anniversary of the Late President Joseph Jenkins Roberts, First President of the Republic of Liberia, a National Holiday as a mark of respect and reverence to his memory and for his untiring efforts in organizing the first Government of the Republic, and negotiating and concluding treaties with Foreign Powers, thus laying the foundation of the Liberian Nation.
The Proclamation further states that “It is befitting that such honor continue to be accorded the memory of this distinguished Statesman as a challenge to all Liberians to aspire to higher and nobler endeavors by emulating his courage, endurance, selflessness and commitments to the principles and ideals of democracy as portrayed in his works and life as our First President.”
Meanwhile, President Sirleaf has ordered that all Government offices, public buildings and business houses be closed during the days.