Eritrea’s independence has a special meaning to Eritreans as this freedom and independence is not bestowed as a gift or gesture of benevolence of the colonizers.
It was an independence brought by unadulterated determination, unabated commitment, immeasurable sacrifices, patriotism and unparalleled courage. It is quite easy for an outsider to see that May 24, our independence day, is the most significant of holidays for Eritreans because it was on this day, 28 years ago, that we were able to ascertain our existence as a sovereign people and nation.
The patriotic manner in which Eritreans inside and outside the country celebrate the day symbolizes the Eritrean identity and dignity as a people capable of being the masters of their destiny. Independence Day therefore is awaited with great expectations. On this day people not only celebrate their precious freedom but also use it as a time to get together to strengthen their unity and devotion to each other. They are always united as a people to make this national holiday fantastic and pleasant each year.
As part of the different programs scheduled for the 28th Independence Day celebrations, residents of 13 administrative districts of Asmara gathered on 17th and 23rd May in various pavilions, halls and school auditoriums to celebrate and express their delight of the historic significance of independence.
The Peradizo administrative district celebrated the Independence Day on 17th May with great enthusiasm and honor. Government officials and sub-zonal administrators were invited to celebrate the day. What made the event special was the presence of the famous American actress, Tiffany Hadish. She was escorted to the celebration by Ambassador Zemede Tekle. She said that she was glad to be part of this important day and feels blessed to be born from an Eritrean.
The Sembel admistrative district also celebrated the day with devotion. The celebrations included activities like cultural and revolutionary songs and dances. Dramas and poems were also presented by students.
One of the attendants of the day, Mr. Weldemikael Yihdego said that freedom is the most valuable human right and we, Eritreans, were deprived of our right because of the colonizers. But after 30 years of war we gained our independence.
We s have fought a series of wars against invading enemies which ultimately took thousands of precious Eritrean lives. For this reason, in the wars before and after independence, there is no family that has not lost a loved one for the noble cause. Every Eritrean has missed his or her dearest one, a brother or a sister, cousin or aunt, lover or a friend, a mother or father. These loved ones fell for the sake of their people’s freedom. Therefore, it is our duty to keep our promises to build our country through hard work and resilience.
Mr. Weldemikael also noted that Eritrean independence is the result of resilience. Not only the independence we are celebrating but also the prevailing peace is the result of the Eritrean people’s resilience. At last, Mr. Weldemikael gave his regard to our martyrs who lost their lives for independence as well as for the Eritrean defense forces who are fulfilling their duty of protecting Eritrea’s borders.
Another attendant of the day, Mrs. Mekeret Adresom, a veteran fighter, said that our independence is every Eritrean’s pride. We, as Eritreans, went through a lot to get to where we are today. We saw our brothers getting killed on the streets. We faced discrimination as a people. But what got us out of all this dreadful time was our unity and resilience. Every Eritrean has contributed and suffered from a great loss to get this freedom. That is why this day means so much for every Eritrean in every corner of the world. She also added that Eritrean independence has particular meaning to Eritrean mothers. Eritrean women contributed so much for independence. Some gave their precious lives, some their sons and daughters and others their husbands. They even gave away their ornaments in support of our gallant defence forces in their fight against the Weyane’s war of aggression. There are no sufficient words to explain the price that Eritrean women have paid to bring independence. At last, Mrs. Mekeret recommended that it is every one’s responsibility to keep our independent and sovereign state and pass it on to the coming generations.
Mr. Issak Teklebrhan, a 92-year-old man, was another exemplary attendant of the gathering. He lived under three colonial powers and said that Eritreans were deprived of their right during the colonial period. But now they have become owners of their land and sea. Mr. Issak was given a certificate of appreciation by Sembel Sub-Zone administrator for his contribution every year for the celebration of Independence Day.
As the theme of this year “resilience for higher progress” goes, the people of Eritrea have the stamina and courage to march on the street of development and prosperity energized by the prevailing peace. I wish a happy independence day to all the Eritrean people.