Eritrea celebrates martyr’s day every year on 20th June. This day has been declared a national holiday to pay tribute and respect to all those who sacrificed their lives in the war of independence and later to safeguard Eritrea’s national sovereignty. This year’s commemoration of the day was honored in a patriotic zeal in different corners of the country and around the world.
On June 19, thousands of people held candle vigil and different artistic works were presented at the Bahti Meskerem Square. Maj. General Romodan Osman Awliyay, G0overnor of the Central region, said that observing this year’s martyr’s day was an act of implementing the Independence Day theme “vision through toil” on the ground and renewing our pledge to build our nation, which was gained through heavy sacrifices. Participants on their part said that Martyrs’ Day is not about shedding tears, but about taking a vow to live up to the expectations of the heroes dreamed of and support their families.
On this spectacular day, when our nation glorifies the value of sacrifice and heroism, we give greetings of praise, recognition and reverence to our valiant martyrs who wrote with their pure blood the greatest chapters of courage, glory and pride. The commemoration day is a national holiday, flags flew at half-mast, and most public places are closed as the nation commemorates its martyrs.
To sacrifice oneself for the sake of the nation represents the ultimate dedication, devotion and loyalty; it is an unparalleled, ultimate sacrifice and an invaluable gift.
The heroism showed by our martyrs will remain engraved in the nation’s memory and immortal in our conscience. These sacrifices are prestigious medals of pride and glory. The sacrifices of our people will only increase our resolve, strength, solidarity and cohesion to defend this country, which our fathers founded on the values of sacrifice, magnanimity, advocacy of that which is right and standing with the oppressed.
The official commemoration event took place here at the capital, Asmara on Wednesday, June 20 in the presence of President Isaias Afwerki, senior government officials, army commanders, diplomats and other participants who marched towards the patriots cemetery from Shida statue accompanied by a marching band and NUEYS members holding flower banquets. At the early morning hours thousands of people gathered at the Bahti Meskerem square and walked towards the patriot’s cemetery. As early as 6:30 am, every nook and corner of the National Martyr’s park was filled with people to honor the Eritrean Martyrs.
The program started at 6:30 am with the laying of floral baskets. President Isaias Afewerki, Mr. Alamin Mohammesaid, secretary of the PFDJ, Gen. Philipos Weldeyohannes, chief of staff of the Eritrean Defense Forces, Mrs. Tekia Tesfamichael, president of the NUEW and Maj. General Romodan Osman Awliyay, Governor of the Central region laid floral baskets at the national patriot’s cemetery. Then the crowd stood a minute in silent contemplation to pray for the souls of the martyrs. On this occasion, H.E President Isaias Afwerki thanked all those who organized and conducted different activities in connection with the Martyr’s day. He addressed the crowd by clarifying the current political developments in our region, especially peace overtures from Ethiopia as “positive signals” and announced that the Eritrean government will dispatch a high level delegation to Ethiopia to gauge current developments directly and in depth as well as to chart out a plan for continuous future action (read full text of the speech in the box).
Various artistic works were presented that reflected the somber mood of the day. Suleiman Ahmad presented a song that says “Atule” followed by a new song of Tesfaldet Mesfun “love of the heroine”. Artist Samuel Ghebreadonay presented a poem that can be translated as “let’s come to the aid of one another” that moved the audience into a deep emotion with a key message to help the families of the fallen heroes and heroines. A number of songs and poems followed and the event was closed with of the national anthem.