“The official Memorial Day celebrated annually on June 20 is just one public aspect of the honor payed in tribute to our martyrs. Across the country and among the Eritrean diaspora, citizens take it as their duty to help the children and families of martyrs.”
By Gebretinsae Damr
[Edited by YoungPFDJ]
Nationalism has been and continues to be among the most powerful political forces in the world. No single political doctrine has played a more prominent role in shaping the face of the modern world than it has. Almost half of the nations in the globe have experienced some sort of national turmoil that shaped their past, current route or future. Millions of people around the world also have willingly laid down their lives for their fatherlands and this almost ritualistic mass sacrifice is continuing.
Patriotism, the graphic expression of national feelings and the love for one’s country also remains the noblest of all loves and emotions. It is difficult to imagine a man who does not love his own country. The love for our country surpasses the love we have for any other thing; the love for family, oneself and friends. And its maximum expression in martyrdom is indeed the noblest of all kinds of deaths. No wonder millions have willingly died for the sake of the motherland/fatherland.
Nowhere else has this been so true other than in our country – Eritrea, where tens of thousands have put the love for the nation above everything including their own life. Those brave martyrs have expressed their love to the country and their fellow citizens by giving away the most precious thing they own – their life. In Eritrea where martyrdom has not only brought freedom but also protected it, the act of passing away in glory for the sake of the nation has become a tradition. In many cases families have lost a father and children, or a group of family members to the cause of freedom. And in some cases three generations of a family has been martyred.
This unimaginable willingness to sacrifice so big for the sake of one’s country is a gesture of moral highness and courage. In honor of this unparalleled service and patriotism of the Eritrean fighter, the Eritrean people have been celebrating both the price and fruits of freedom in a manner with few comparisons around the world. The official Memorial Day celebrated annually on June 20 is just one public aspect of the honor payed in tribute to our martyrs. Across the country and among the Eritrean diaspora, citizens take it as their duty to help the children and families of martyrs.
One can understand how much we value our freedom by just observing how much the Eritrean people take care of the families of martyrs and the way we commemorate our national holidays, including and in particular June 20. This is the day that no Eritrean would afford to put away from his heart. It is the day where we remind ourselves that we have paid more than we can afford to be free and suffered beyond limits to end suffering. June 20 is the day where we remember the heroes who spared their lives – the most precious asset they own as humans, to end the plight of the Eritrean people.
True enough our martyrs’ heirs need social protection. Yet the things that we should do to make sure that our martyrs’ soul rests in peace go beyond memorials and promises. It is the ideals that took the lives of tens of thousands young Eritreans that need more protection and care. Putting everything after the nation, honesty, dedicated service to the people, willingness to sacrifice one’s life for the motherland, strong belief in equality, justice and openness were the values of the freedom fighters. Many of them had the words “victory to the masses” in their lips when they passed away because they where sure about the indivisibility of these values under any circumstances, if the cause of the Eritrean people was to succeed.
The truth is that the best way to preserve the values and deeds of our martyrs which culminated in the patriotic sacrifice for their country and people, to the coming generations is, to emulate them and live up to our promises. We can only show the young generation how valuable our freedom is and the worth of the price we paid to gain it by setting an example. Besides, the true way of honoring service is found in doing one.