We have all been told the story of The Sea Venture, flagship of the second expedition sent to America by the Virginia Company of London under the command of Admiral Sir George Somers, which wrecked off Bermuda in 1609 during a violent storm.
Four hundred years after this historic milestone, Bermuda will celebrate and reflect on what our island was like then and how we have progressed to the country we are today.
Over the past four centuries, there have been many challenges to our existence, and yet, we have faced those challenges and emerged as a thriving, diverse, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural community. This anniversary gives us the opportunity to honour and showcase the Bermuda people, culture, and the events that have helped to build Bermuda over the past 400 years and make it what it is today. The calendar for 2009 is a mosaic of events and exhibitions that define our past and showcase the limitless possibilities of our future which will unfold throughout the year. To date, over 40 community events have been planned with more being planned. The community events are a combination of original programming and an enhancement of existing events.
We will hit the ground running in January kicking off this spectacular celebration with a party on Front Street, complete with entertainment and a fireworks display. Throughout the year there will be Broadway-calibre theatrical productions, original films and historic pageants, educational and environmental initiatives, all culminating to produce the most exciting year that Bermuda has ever seen
Front Street will again be a spectacular sight to see in June when, under the auspices of Tall Ships Bermuda, we will be visited by a fleet of Tall Ships participating in the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge 2009. October will be an exciting month. Following the success of the Bermuda Tattoo held in 2005, the Bermuda Regiment, for Bermuda's 400th anniversary, is organizing Bermuda Tattoo2009
Bermuda has a long and proud relationship with the United States beginning in 1610 when survivors from the Sea Venture went to Jamestown, Virginia. The subsequent rescue of that colony by those survivors is one of the important stories of the western world. Bermuda indeed played a crucial role in the development of the New World. There will be two original works launched in 2009 which will chronicle Bermuda's relationship with the United States. One is Lucinda Spurling's latest film, The Lion and The Mouse, and the second is a book by Marina Slayton, wife to US Consul General which will look at 400 Years of Friendship.
In 2009 we will be celebrating Bermuda's PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE. We want everyone in Bermuda to participate. It is OUR celebration and an opportunity to showcase our beautiful country and say to the world, look how far we have come, against all odds. Let us rejoice in the journey. As Shakespeare put it so well at the end of the Tempest "I'll deliver all and promise you calm seas, auspicious gales, be free and fare thou well"
If you would like more information on this exciting year, please visit our website, which will be 'live' very shortly - www.bermuda2009.bm.