Today is the Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
It is a day set aside to honour the fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives for the good of the Nigerian nation.
To commemorate the event, military personnel from the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Nigerian Legion, along with the national and state political leaderships, are at the National Cenotaph in the FCT, Abuja.
The Armed Forces Remembrance Day was initially marked in Nigeria on November 11 of every year to coincide with the Remembrance Day (“Poppy Day” or “11 – 11) to honour veterans of the First and Second World War in all Commonwealth countries. However, the date was changed to January 15th of every year in commemoration of the surrender of Biafran troops to the Federal troops on January 15, 1970.
Since then, military personnel from the Army, the Navy, the Air force and the Nigerian Legion converge on various centres nationwide to commemorate the day and honour both the fallen and living heroes who put and continue to put their lives on the line in defence of the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
For many, the annual celebration of the nation’s armed forces is not enough, not minding the fact that they rose to the task of keeping the country united during war. It is the critical fault line that led to the three-year armed conflict that must be given attention and addressed in far-reaching terms.
The war led to the deaths of more than 2 million Nigerians and left more than one million displaced and homeless with at least 50 thousand Nigerian soldiers killed.
On this years’ Armed Forces Remembrance Day, Nigerians should consider and reflect on the true meaning of this day and our roles as Nigerian citizens to members of the Armed Forces,living and the dead and their families.
It should not just be an annual ritual. It should be a day of reverence and awareness by Nigerians on the central role Nigerian military personnel commissioned and enlisted are playing to guaranteeing peace and security in the country.