President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has reminded Liberians that God, in his bountiful mercies and love, has given us the chance over and over to right the wrongs of the past.
"It was with the spirit and values of Christianity of our forefathers that Liberia was born to right the wrongs of the past and build a great nation; but we still continue with the wrongs of hatred, injustice, lies, undermining, discrimination, wickedness, among others as a nation," the Liberian leader pointed out.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian President made the assertion at the 35th Anniversary Memorial Service for former officials of the William Richard Tolbert Government killed on April 22, 1980. The Memorial Service was held at the First Presbyterian Church on Broad and Johnson Streets in Monrovia.
William R. Tolbert, Jr., 20th President of Liberia from 1971 until 1980, was killed in a violent coup d'état in the early hours of April 12, 1980 by 17 non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia led by Master Sergeant Samuel Doe.
By the end of the month, most of the cabinet ministers and senior officials of the administration had been put on trial and later sentenced to death. Many of them were publicly executed on April 22 at a beach near the Barclay Training Center. Only four of Tolbert's cabinet ministers survived the coup and its aftermath; including the Minister of Finance, future president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
In her solemn remarks, President Sirleaf said Liberians have drifted away from the values and spirit envisioned and implanted by Liberia's forefathers over the years and have opted to practice hatred, lies, undermining, injustice, discrimination, wickedness towards their fellow compatriots.
"We hate each other, lie on each other, kill each other, act wicked to each other; but God in his bountiful love and mercy continues to give us the chance over and over to right the wrongs and make our country better," President Sirleaf told the jammed packed church.
She stressed the need for Liberians to individually and collectively work for reconciliation which she indicated must come from the heart and stay with each of us; adding that each Liberian must look himself/herself in the mirror and say I have done my part to promote reconciliation.
"We have all individually and collectively sinned against God and must work to right the wrongs. I pray that God gives each of us the strength and courage to be a part of the righting the wrongs committed throughout our existence as a nation," she stressed.
The Liberian leader emphasized that this was why government joined the mourners to pray to God and recommitted itself to go back to the thoughts of our forefathers to right the wrongs and make Liberia better. She thanked God for the 10-years of uninterrupted peace to which all Liberians have contributed.
Delivering a special sermon during the memorial service, the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Liberia, Rev. Sando E. Townsend reflected and recounted the events leading to the coup and the death of the former officials, and indicated that the families have forgiven the perpetrators, but have not forgotten.