By Bereket Kidane,
This Thursday, June 20, we mark ‘Mealti Sematat’ – Eritrea’s day of remembrance for its fallen heroes. We honor the brave tegadeltis who sacrificed the prime of their lives to create a sovereign Eritrean nation and the equally brave Warsay generation who gave up their lives to protect it.
Perhaps more than any other day of the year, with the exception of Independence Day on May 24, it is Martyrs’ Day that brings the Eritrean people together in unity. Eritrean communities around the world will hold ceremonies to remember our fallen heroes and to let them know that we will never forget the blood they shed and the sacrifice they made.
In years past, immediately following the early years of independence in the nineties, Dimtsi Hafash Radio in a special broadcast from Nakfa used to read aloud the names of all 65,000 plus tegadeltis who fell in battle during the armed struggle. The list has grown longer since with the addition of the 19,000 plus heroes from the Warsay generation. Both Eri-TV and radio play somber music and sad songs that convey the mood of the day. The documentaries from the armed struggle and the testimonials from the fellow tegadeltis and families of the fallen heroes are always heart-wrenching.
As we gather in our respective cities around the world this Thursday to commemorate Martyrs’ Day, the memory of those fallen heroes should serve to remind us of the heavy responsibility we bear as Eritrean citizens in making sure we fulfill the dreams of the sons and daughters of Eritrea who are no longer with us.
Zelealemawi Zikhri n Swuatna!
Awet n Hafash!