November 12, 2004
National flag raised at historic U.S. landmark

by Nelson A. King in New York

As the wind blew across the historic Bowling Green Park in the commercial district of lower Manhattan, about two dozen very proud Vincentians huddled together for warmth and comfort.

The chilly air, on Oct. 27 – St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Independence Day – did not prevent these patriotic souls from witnessing and being part of the historic hoisting of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ flag. {{more}}

“I took the day off from work because I wanted to celebrate St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ independence,” said Carmina Thomas, an ex-police officer at home, wearing a head tie depicting the national colors of her native land – blue, green and yellow – with the inscription, “St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.

“I’m very excited that St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ flag is raised in the United States,” added Thomas, a former vice president of the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Ex-Police Association, Inc. “We can be more recognized now.”

“It’s a wonderful occasion,” beamed United Nations Ambassador Margaret Hughes-Ferrari after the Vincentian flag was raised for the very first time on United States’ soil. “I’m full of pride to stand here. It brings goose bumps to me.”

New York Consul General Cosmus Cozier said he also gathered goose bumps as he and Ferrari hoisted the flag to cheers from the small contingent of nationals, consular representatives from Barbados and Jamaica, and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Bowling Green Association (BGA) officials.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Cozier said, referring to the CTO-BGA collaboration in inviting Caribbean countries to raise their flags at the historic landmark. “This is all symbolic. What I would want to do is to have this flag sent to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to be flown.”

St. Vincent and the Grenadines has become the latest Caribbean country to raise its flag at the oldest park in America, the site where the U.S. flag was first raised when the country gained its independence from Britain in 1776.

Jamaica’s flag was first among Caribbean countries to be raised at the site in 1997, but it was not until last year that other CTO-member countries followed suit.