Eritreans all over the world commemorated the 20th June, National Martyrs’ Day with a renewed pledge to continue safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the motherland against all threats and live up to the martyrs’ dreams of a developed and prosperous nation.
On this solemn day, we pay tribute to our valiant martyrs who wrote with their pure blood the greatest chapters of courage, glory and pride. The day is marked by flags flowing at half-mast and most public places closed as the nation commemorates its martyrs.
The national event starts on the eve. On the 19th June, candle vigil was held at the Bahti Meskerem Square, where various artistic works were exhibited with thousands of people in attendance. Maj. General Romodan Osman Awliyay, Governor of the Central region, said that this year’s commemoration of the day is unique because we are honoring it at a time when all the hostilities and sanctions against Eritrea were foiled 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 our martyrs and support their families.
On the eve of the day, memorial services were also held in churches and mosques for all those who laid their lives for the well-being and prosperity of the nation.
June 20th began with a march from Shida Square to the Patriots’ Cemetery in Asmara, where thousands gathered to commemorate Martyrs’ Day.
President Isaias Afwerki attended the ceremony held at the martyr’s cemetery accompanied by PFDJ officials and diplomatic corps.
President Isaias Afwerki, Mr. Alamin Mohammed said, 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 wreaths at the patriots’ cemetery. In his address on the occasion, the president called on all to renew their solemn pledge to continue the legacy of the Martyrs over and above paying homage to them.
“Our Martyrs constitute the multiplying factor of the resources and power of this country by virtue of their heroism and the ultimate price that they have paid. They vanquished and altered what seemed an asymmetric power equation in favor of the forces of independence…” (Read full text of the speech in the box).
Various artistic works that reflected the mood of the day were presented. The event was opened with artist Mohammed Humed Tita singing a Bidawyet song. A number of songs and poems followed and the event was closed with the national anthem. The events expressed the significant status of the martyrs in the hearts of the nation’s people and continued existence of their memory in the souls of the people.
On Martyrs’ Day last year President Isaias announced the dispatching of higher Eritrean delegation to Addis Ababa following Ethiopia’s acceptance of the Boundary Commission’s ruling of 2002. This was followed by official visits of both heads of states to both of the countries, ending the “no peace no war” situation officially. This has ushered in a new chapter in the history of Eritrea and Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa at large.
Martyrs’ Day was remembered throughout the country in which thousands of people attended events to commemorate the fallen heroes. The official event was carried live by the national television – Eri-TV.