Heroes' Day: The spirit of the Unknown Soldier is still alive

Once again, today we celebrate our national heroes, people who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their nation and people.

The country’s recognised heroes might be few in numbers but they represent many unsung heroes as is the case of the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National Heroes’ Mausoleum next to Amahoro National Stadium in Remera.

The Unknown Soldier is a powerful epitome of true sacrifice. It represents the thousands of young men and women who laid down their lives in the quest to liberate this country. They are people who never lived to witness the results of their struggle.

The new Rwanda, where equity is the buzz word, where merit dislodged nepotism and favouratism came on the backs of those young souls.

Many a times when we celebrate our heroes, the famous ones are the ones who come to mind. Stories of their sacrifices and deeds inundate our media, but the Unknown Soldier hardly gets a mention.

This is time to change that narrative; the Unknown Soldier needs to be feted, his exploits need to be brought to the fore to serve as an example for the next generation of heroes.

The Rwanda Defence Forces has a department in charge of compiling military history; maybe it is time to begin putting it in the public domain. Many people usually put a look of disbelief on their faces when they get snippets of the audacious exploits by the men in uniform, before, during and after the Genocide.

These are stories that need to be told in order to remove the Unknown Soldier out of oblivion and into posterity. As we celebrate Heroes Day, his name should be on our lips as we have much to be grateful about.