How does it feel nursing a fatally wounded husband, wife, a close relation or even worse, remembering a young man or woman whose life was cut short in his prime? Either dead or alive, the memory remains fresh. It becomes more painful when inundated with the vacuum created as a result of their incapacitation or demise.
The picture of Nigeria’s fallen heroes cannot be painted without some drop of tears from the strongest heart. And remembering these men and women who laid down their lives for the peace, prosperity and unity of Nigeria as a nation, should go beyond the annual Remembrance Day ceremonies of laying wreaths and the release of pigeons.
It is to be noted that the country cannot truly repay these patriots for their sacrifices. But with some quality care and love for the families of the fallen heroes and the legionnaires, Nigeria would have succeeded in its bid to keep the memories of her gallant but fallen heroes alive while strengthening the hearts of those in different battle fields in and around the world.
Celebrated in the past with a sense of responsibility on the part of the government and the citizenry with massive awareness, prompting solidarity from both young and old. The citizens though not having much to offer, annually buy the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem and wear to work and in market places, remembering those patriots who gave their lives in defense of the country. The radio jingle that heralded the celebration in the past was known to have created a lot of publicity for the event. The jingle has also been said to have boosted the morale of the armed forces and kept alive the purpose and relevance of the celebration in the minds of the citizenry. And every January 15, Nigerians all around the world celebrate and remember her fallen heroes with this solemn number:
“Today we remember our fallen heroes, Nigeria remembers you
You laid your life for a truly just cause, Nigeria remembers you
We salute you, your courage we adore, that Nigeria may be one,
Strong, united sovereign state, Nigeria remembers you.”
Commentators and observers have argued that at this time in the history of Nigeria, the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, should be one of the important national events that arrest the mind of every Nigerian – home and abroad. And as the country calls to remembrance the sacrifices of her armed forces every January 15, the citizenry ought to have a good understanding of this event, more importantly, reflect on the cost of the peace and security the country enjoys. This, notwithstanding the threats to the nation’s peace, security and unity through the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists, the Niger Delta militants, the IPOB secessionists, among others, Nigeria’s armed forces have remained dedicated and committed to securing, defending and sustaining an indivisible nation.
While Nigeria savours and celebrates the various victories the forces have continued to record in different operations, the fact remains that the blood of her combatants solders the peace being enjoyed in every part of this country and in some other parts of the world. In cognisance of the great risk and cause these men and women have given their lives to fight, the President, Muhammadu Buhari as part of his activities marking the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day made a conference call to Nigerian troops in different locations via NigComSat during the Wreath Laying ceremony at the Arcade in Abuja.
To him, the country can never repay these compatriots enough. Those, whose while families spend the night together in their homes, these ones mount their duty posts in dreaded zones, whenever duty calls. Those who fight dangerous rebels, terrorists and other armed bandits to save the lives of others at the expense of their own lives.
The President who spoke to the troops commended them while reassuring them of Nigeria’s support for their families. Speaking with the troops in Sambisa Forest in Borno State, President Buhari commended them for their courage, discipline and efficiency. Informing them that Nigerians appreciate and celebrate the successes they have continued to record in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists, the President said, “Good morning officers and men of the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army. You have done Nigeria a great pride. Your success was received spontaneously by all Nigerians. I congratulate you and thank you very much for the honour done to the country and to us. Well done! I wish you and your families well and I hope that you are in touch with your families.
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