Remembering the Nation’s Fallen Heroes
The Armed Forces and Remembrance Day celebration is an annual event to honour members of the armed forces who fought in the First and Second World Wars.
Also, it is a day to appreciate those who served or are still serving in various peace support operations worldwide as well as those who fought in the Nigerian Civil War.
The day is to celebrate both the dead and the living heroes including all those who suffered various deprivations as a result of wars.
Nigeria and some Commonwealth countries initially marked Armed Forces and Remembrance Day on the eleventh of November every year to coincide with the remembrance day popularly known as “poppy day” or “11 – 11” for the First and Second World War veterans in all Commonwealth countries.
In Nigeria, due to some significant historical developments, it was changed to the fifteenth of January every year.
The change to January 15 of every year was done in commemoration of the surrender of Biafra troops to the Federal troops on 15 January 1970, thus signaling the end of the Nigerian Civil War that sought to tear apart the unity of Nigeria.
Since then, it has become a national event, as military personnel including the army, the navy, the air force and the Nigerian Legion converge on different centres across the nation to celebrate the day and give honour to the fallen and living heroes, who sacrificed their lives for the territorial integrity of the nation and for peace to reign worldwide.
The event will be held at the Federal, State and Local levels where either serving military officers reside or where living ex-service men occupy.
Several events including release of pigeons to symbolize peace, placing of wreaths, playing of the last post, Remembrance Day parade, 21 gun salute and others characterize this memorable day.
The army officers are usually dressed in attires of diverse colours typical of their fields be it navy, air force, army and the ex-service men.
Beside parades, placing of wreaths and releasing of pigeons, the event also witnesses religious services in both mosques and churches nationwide.
President Muhammadu Buhari last year October inaugurated the 2020 emblem appeal launch for the armed forces Remembrance Day celebration with a donation of ten million naira on behalf of the federal government.
President Buhari encouraged all citizens to donate generously in support of veterans and dependants of the fallen heroes and charged the citizens not to forget those currently engaged in internal security operations, particularly the on-going war against insurgency in some parts of the country.
The President also called on Nigerians and others residents in Nigeria to procure and wear the emblem with pride, to identify with those who sacrificed their lives for the peace and security of the nation.
President Buhari noted that the North-East Development Commission and Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development were established to cater for the families of the fallen heroes.
It is commendable that the Federal Government had created avenues for generating money for the families of the fallen heroes, the activities should however be carried out with transparency.
It will be a wonderful idea if the Federal and State governments can give annual subventions to the Nigerian Legion. Aside this, retired officers and their families should be given free medical care.