They knew life is transient and death is inevitable. But, they refuse to be hit by bullets of colonizers and die in vain. They want to put an end to brutal scenes of carnages that were common happenings everywhere in Eritrea; they want to abolish any sort of law that was implemented to ban movement of people as well as the curfew hours. They, in short, want to have an absolute freedom so as to enjoy everything they deserve as full-fledged nationals. To do so, they have to scarify their precious lives for they had to make an end to the presence of colonial powers through an armed struggle.
Eritreans resisted against any sort of colonization, oppression, and eradication of their long standing culture that was threatened through the negative impacts of invaders. They made themselves ready to make selfless sacrifice for the national cause–to free Eritrea from the clutches of colonizers. Despite being sole bread winners of their families, a number of fathers, who joined the Eritrean revolution, were ready to face any eventuality and to defeat enemy forces no matter what it takes.
Mothers who were supposed to give proper care for their kids also left home and followed the footsteps of their husbands for they knew the lives of their offspring, the life of any member of an extended family and generally of the entire Eritrean people were under constant threat of colonial powers. The Eritrean youth, men and women alike flocked to the strongholds of freedom fighters and recruited to be gallant fighters following the footsteps of their pioneers of the struggle for independence.
Eritrean freedom fighters fought against the hugely armed enemy forces and achieved huge military gains at the cost of huge sacrifice. The freedom fighters had shown unmatched bravery and they fought in situations that leave no room for survival, but they survived and won the war for independence through their unyielding determination.
Asmerom Habtemariam, a veteran freedom fighter and among the founders of EPLF’s radio- the Voice of Broad Masses, once said in his poem titled “Jigna Hizbawi Serawit” which could be roughly translated as “Gallant People’s Army” that the fierce battles that were hard to be told let alone to be experienced. The actual war incidents were hard to be imagined, but the freedom fighters fought in such wars and in situations that seem suicidal. They fought in situations that are more to be said of no way out and in places that are full of ravines. Despite such hindrances, the freedom fighters foiled the successive enemy invasions and they penetrated through ditches that have been wide enough for the passage of clouds but not for humans.
The collective endeavor of the freedom fighters and that of the entire Eritrean people has freed Eritrea once and for all. Everybody starts to enjoy the true essence of freedom. Eritreans gained a broader chance to decide their own destiny that was once hijacked by the colonizers. But, an unforeseen threat that could destruct the merriment of independence came with the later invasion of Ethiopian army in 1998 and the fierce battle continued for three rounds of offensives.
The hard-won independence has been safeguarded by the gallant Eritreans, who never fail to achieve their independence overcoming interwoven challenges of colonization. Being one people and a leadership that stands for its people, Eritreans have proven their determination and commitment for a national cause. However, this war of safeguarding national sovereignty has demanded huge sacrifice.
The same people who made what seemed impossible-possible have continued to travel through the path of success. The Eritrean people, however, never forgot the huge sacrifices that were demanded for freeing and safeguarding the country.
The people, who never fail to achieve what seem unachievable, would definitely continue to succeed in everything. All nationals will certainly succeed in their inputs of nation building process, in supporting the families of fallen heroes, and in renewing their pledge to live up to martyrs trust.
Even though martyrs are always in the hearts and minds of all Eritreans, June 20 is then annually commemorated nationwide as a memorial day for the fallen heroes and heroines their unmatched sacrifice. And every year, on June 19, every Eritrean lit a candle vigil as a means of honoring the selfless sacrifices made by Eritrean fallen heroes and heroines for independence and for safeguarding the nation.
Eritreans have a power to come out victorious from no way out stations; they have the ability to penetrate through a crack that is only wide enough for clouds passage. During the war times, as Mr. Asmorom writes in his poem, nothing seems to come out of situations that were riddled with dilemma. But, Eritreans practically lived in situation where “nothing seems to pass through, except clouds” and come out with triumph of independence and a victory of safeguarding their nation.