Rwandans living in different countries around the world over the weekend gathered to mark the 25th Heroes Day celebrations to pay tribute to nationals of different times, who gave their all in the service of the country.
The day is celebrated every year on February 1 and this year, it was held under the theme; “Sustaining heroism in a vision we have chosen”.
Despite freezing January weather in the United States, about 100 people, members of the diplomatic corps, numerous Defense Attachés representing their countries and other friends of Rwanda, joined the Embassy to honour the heroes.
The event took place in the US capital, Washington DC.
In his welcoming remarks, Brigadier General Vincent Nyakarundi, Defence Attaché at the Rwandan Embassy in the US, thanked those in attendance for honouring the invitation.
As a member of the forces that liberated Rwanda 25 years ago, he expressed his high regard for this day.
Ambassador Williams Nkurunziza
Rwanda was liberated in 1994 by Rwanda Patriotic Front forces that stopped the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, but after over a million people had lost their lives to state-backed militia and armed forces of the day.
In her remarks, Ambassador Mukantabana emphasised the importance of cultivating heroic values starting at the family unit, all the way to the national level.
“Those heroes who gave their lives for the liberation of Rwanda were young and had many aspirations, but chief among them was sacrificing everything for their nation. We can all strive to lead heroic lives,” said the envoy, according to a statement from the embassy.
On the youth’s role in protecting and upholding the heroic values, Mukantabana said it is now up to them to take up the baton and run with it as far as they can dream for their nation.
“Let us build off the legacy of a strong foundation that Rwanda’s heroes left us with, let us carry on the torch and fuel that flame with unshakable patriotism, commitment, and resilience.”
She called all those present to uphold integrity and patriotism in the pursuit of the betterment of their nations and ultimately the world.
Elsewhere, in Turkey, the ceremony was led by Ambassador Williams Nkurunziza and attracted about 100 people, including diplomats from different African Missions in Turkey such as Zambia, Morocco, Gabon and Egypt.
Two teams that competed for Heroes Basketball Tournament
The celebrations were preceded by a basketball tournament that involved two teams composed of Rwandans, Embassy Staff, friends from Turkey, and African diplomats.
Ibrahim Uwihoreye receiving a trophy as the best Player of the Tournament
During the celebrations, Nkurunziza called on the youth to draw lessons of courage, patriotism, sacrifice, resilience and grit demonstrated by Rwanda’s heroes, some of whom paid the ultimate price to liberate the country.