The commemoration of the 69th anniversary of the 28th February shooting incident, which saw the gunning down of three retired soldiers by British Police in 1948 is significant in the annals of the political history of the country.
The significance of the shooting incident lies in the fact that it stimulated a series of popular actions that led to the end of colonial rule and political independence for Ghana.
The incident was begun by a group of ex-soldiers who had fought alongside the allied forces in the Gold Coast Regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Force during the Second World War. The ex-soldiers had returned home poor and were not paid their gratuities.
On February 28, 1948, a number of the ex-servicemen were marching from Accra to Christiansborg Castle to present a petition to the Governor on their unpaid war benefits when they were intercepted at the crossroads by a contingent of armed policemen.
The contingent, led by British Police Superintendent, Mr. Colin Imray, ordered that they disperse and when they refused to obey, he gave an order to the police to open fire and the three ex-servicemen — Sergeant Cornelius Francis Adjetey, Corporal Patrick Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey — were killed.
The news about the death of the gallant ex-servicemen spread rapidly, leading to a situation where law and order broke down in Accra and other parts of the country. Following the disturbances, some prominent nationalists, who later became known as the Big Six of Gold Coast politics, were arrested and detained.
As a result of the incarceration of the Big Six, anti-colonial movements at the time were encouraged to press the British government to institute a committee to investigate the killings of the three ex-servicemen and also find out more about the chaotic situation and general disorder.
A committee set up to investigate the issues recommended self-government for the Gold Coast and this subsequently led to the attainment of political independence for the country.
As the country remembers the fallen heroes, a wreath laying ceremony, accompanied by special prayers as well as other activities were held yesterday at the Freedom Monument, Osu, to show that the nation still recognises the role they played in the struggle towards political independence for this noble country.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Ministers of State, Parliamentarians, relatives of the fallen heroes, security personnel, ex-servicemen, prominent citizens and visitors, as well as other important dignitaries who graced the occasion did so in recognition of the great role played by the fallen heroes.
We all need to learn from the fallen heroes and strive to emulate them to build a strong, wealthy, peaceful and prosperous nation for the present and future generations. The building of a strong prosperous nation depends on the people of this country.
If we all work hard towards national reconstruction, with the aim of making life better for all, we will soon experience better standard of living as well as better life for all.
The celebration of the 28th February shooting incident should not just be regarded as a mere formality but as an event that reminds the people of this country to be bold and courageous and also fight for what is good for the country so as to move the country to a higher pedestal of development.
The spirit of resilience exhibited by the ex-servicemen and all past heroes must encourage the present generation to continue the fight for socio-economic development, equity, fair play and general improvement for everyone in this country.