On February 28, 1948 when a number of unarmed ex-servicemen decided to present a petition to the colonial administration, they did so with a clear conscience, expecting their action to bring about positive results.
The petition was meant to remind the colonial administration of what was duly due the ex-servicemen after they had fought in the Second World War but which had not been paid.
The peaceful march turned bloody and fatal when Sergeant Cornelius Francis Nii Adjetey, Corporal Patrick Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey were shot in cold blood.
The usual friendly and peaceful Ghanaian became exercised and there was total breakdown of law and order. Stores belonging to mainly foreigners were looted and burnt.
It was during that anarchy that some key political figures, later to be called the Big Six — J.B. Danquah, Ako Adjei, Kwame Nkrumah, William Ofori-Atta, Edward Akufo Addo and Obetsebi- Lamptey — were arrested and detained.
Although the country’s march towards independence had started many years prior to the incident, the 28th February Crossroads shooting incident energised the Ghanaian to demand self-rule immediately, culminating in the country’s independence on March 6, 1957.
A narration of the country’s independence cannot, therefore, be complete without recounting the Crossroads incident.
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The Daily Graphic sees the flag-hoisting ceremony that took place yesterday to commemorate the day as having a deeper and more significant meaning for the Ghanaian. We relate the incident to lines in one of Ghana’s patriotic songs, translated into English as: “This was fought for by the blood of our forefathers/It is our turn to continue with the cause for which they died.”
But we are rather saddened that the average modern Ghanaian is noted for demanding what the country can do for him or her, rather than what he or she can do for the country.
The Ghanaian of today has become so laid back with things concerning the country.
We litter with careless abandon; we put up structures at unauthorised places; we sell anywhere in the street and on major roads without any conscience. Unfortunately, due to indifference, nepotism, bribery and corruption, leaders who have been put in office to ensure that the right things are done do nothing about these, while they still take money for no work done.
Those who are to ensure that those who are paid work are adamant.
We seem to glorify wrongdoing and consider the few who want the right things to be done as rather fighting the system.
The breaking of rules has become the norm and we have allowed indiscipline to become our lot.
The Daily Graphic is deeply convinced God has blessed our country with all resources, just as we sing and call on Him to do in our National Anthem. But we have woefully refused to play our part to allow His manifold blessings to fall on us.
Citizens sing the National Anthem without meaning. If that were not so, how would we sing: “Fill our hearts with true humility” and yet wake up in the morning to shouts of piercing insults directed from young people at adults in the name of democracy?
It is not beyond Ghana to catapult itself into a higher middle-income country and subsequently a developed economy if we use the occasion of the commemoration of the 28th February Crossroad shooting incident to renew our minds and resolve to put the nation first in whatever we do.
Ghana has a rich history of exemplary lessons; we only need to learn from them to make our nation great and strong.