The concept of heroism resonates differently depending on where you are and, when it comes to a community that has encountered a tragic past like Rwanda’s, heroes tend to symbolize more than building a shrine for a leader basing only on the positions they hold. On this side of the world however, our heroes are best described as the people that put their lives in harm’s way to preserve and protect a nation. Every year, on February 1, their lives and sacrifices are honored in an enormous way. ALSO READ: What Heroes Day means for Rwandan entertainers There are quite a number of ways to honor a fallen hero, and for Chysostome Twiringiyimana, a maize farmer in Nyagatare District, Heroes Day “is essential because it represents the reason Rwandans rediscovered their sense of belonging.” “The renewed unity and security in the country is testament enough of our heroes’ ever lasting impact.” ALSO READ: A closer look at heroism before, during and after colonialism Country of great value Platini Ndizeye, a taxi driver in Kigali, is of the view that the fact that there were people willing to put their lives at risk to protect the country “speaks more than the tragedy itself.” “Heroes Day is always a sign that this country is of great value.” he said. Daphrose Mukarutamu, who lost eight children and most of other family members in the 1994 genocide against the Tusti, holds Rwandan heroes in high esteem. She “saw the heroes give up their well-being for the greater good,” for her life, her surviving three children and other Rwandans. “We were spared, thanks to the heroes. It would never have happened without the zeal and purpose exuded by our heroes.” From where Celestin Simparika stands, heroes have undoubtedly changed the country for the better and that warrants a celebration. The 50-year-old fisherman feels strongly about what the youth could do to sustain the country’s re-birth and development. ALSO READ: What can youth pick from Rwanda’s heroes? “A good start would be the youth taking up the culture of sacrifice from those that preceded them.” For the Urekerereza National Ballet, keeping their stories in the limelight for the consumption of present and future generations is very important. ALSO READ: Heroes Day from an athlete’s perspective Massamba Intore, the lead coach of the national ballet, said: “Without heroes, this country would not be what it is.” Omer Kwizera, a member of the national ballet, agrees that: “The peace and security we enjoy today is courtesy of the national heroes.” According to traditional music icon Marie-Jeanne Mukankuranga, professionally known as Maria Yohana,the fundamental essence of Heroes Day “is to honor their acts of bravery.” “In addition to the thrill that comes with entertaining people, celebrating the day and what it symbolises is a reminder of the progress made since the heroes’ extraordinary sacrifices.” Mukankuranga strongly feels that the youth need to stand for the values of those that liberated the country and commends the role they have already played in the country’s development, so far.