Today marks the 25th anniversary of the infamous executions of 13 of Liberia's most illustrious leaders. And today, for the first time since it happened, relatives and friends filled every pew at Trinity Cathedral for a memorial service in their honor. We could not do this during the ten years of Doe's regime, and for the last fifteen years we have been at war.
Twenty-five years is a long time to mourn without closure. Even after today, though, I don't know if all hearts can truly be still. But we have done what we needed to do for our loved ones and for ourselves, and we have chosen to focus on love, forgiveness, and reconciliation in a new Liberia.
We will remember them.
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Friday, April 22, 2005
Hundreds of friends and relatives poured out of Trinity Catheral at the end of the service to head to the memorial site together. The floral wreath is decorated with photographs of the 13 men. The large portrait following is of Richard A. Henries, Sr., Speaker of the House of Representatives.
At the memorial site in the Palm Grove Cemetery on Center Street where the men were buried. We stood staring at those portraits for ages, some of us wondering about what could have been. My grandmother's house is opposite the cemetery, and I clearly remember us watching the mass burial from her front window in April 1980.
Several people walked up and wiped the faces of their loved ones or whispered words from their hearts. Here, a woman wipes the face of C.Cecil Dennis, Jr., Minister of Foreign Affairs. The only time I have ever seen my Dad cry was when we heard that Cousin Cecil had been killed.
Yvette Chesson Wureh passing out Liberian flags meant to symbolize love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and "Liberty and Justice for all" in a new Liberia. The portraits (l-r) are of D. Franklin Neal, Sr., Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs, and James A.A. Pierre, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
We Will Remember Them
Cyril Bright, Minister of Agriculture
Joseph J.F. Chesson, Sr., Minister of Justice and Attorney General
C. Cecil Dennis, Jr., Minister of Foreign Affairs
Richard A. Henries, Sr., Speaker of the House of Representatives
D. Franklin Neal, Sr., Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs
P. Clarence Parker III, Chairman of the National Investment Commission and Treasurer of the True Whig Party
James T. Phillips, Jr., Former Minister of Finance, and Former Minister of Agriculture
James A.A. Pierre, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia
John W.F. Sherman, Minister of Commerce, Industry, and Transportation
Frank J. Stewart, Sr., Director of the Budget
Frank E. Tolbert, Sr., President Pro-Tempore of the Senate
E. Reginald Townsend, Chairman of the True Whig Party
We will remember them.