(June 20 Series No. 4) ERITREA TREASURES ITS FALLEN HEROES
by Anbe Berhane
In Eritrea, June 20 is an official Martyrs’ Day (Memorial Day) during which Eritrean nationals within Eritrea and in the Diaspora solemnly pay tribute to the thousands of heroes and heroines who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the struggle for independence and while protecting Eritrean sovereignty. On that day Eritrean nationals renew their pledge to support the families of the fallen heroes and to make every effort to advance Eritrean national interests and safeguard such prevalent core values as maintaining national unity, harmony and tolerance among and between the various ethnic and religious groups, which comprise the Eritrean society.
In order to supplement the Eritrean government’s endeavors to support the families of the those who fell to liberate and defend its sovereignty, Eritrean citizens take measures individually and/or collectively aimed at sponsoring these families in line with the benevolent Eritrean customs and traditions. Despite its meager resources the government continues to apportion a considerable amount of its budget for supporting the martyrs’ families.
Supreme sacrifice is highly treasured in Eritrea. Invocation of those who paid their lives is taken very seriously. As a matter of fact, graduates of the National Service swear in the name of these heroes at graduation. They continue to live in the hearts and minds of the Eritrean people. It is to be recalled that the struggle for independence cost, among others, the lives of sixty five thousand of freedom fighters and a quarter million civilian victims. In addition, the border war cost nearly nineteen thousand lives. Those brave heroes and heroines have once again proven the fact that to pass fighting for your people and nation is highly treasured and emulated in Eritrea.
Just as the candle dies as it lights up our heroic martyrs along with their living comrades have brought independence and protected the well-being of the nation. On our part, we salute them and in their name we renew our pledge to care for their families and advance the national interests.
Eternal Glory to our Fallen Heroes!