Rwandans yesterday marked Heroes’ Day, with celebrations organized at the grassroots across the country, held under the theme; “Upholding Heroism to Build the Rwanda We Want”.
While the day was marked at the village level – the smallest administrative unit –, in the capital Kigali, President Paul Kagame led senior government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and families of the country’s celebrated heroes in laying wreaths on their graves at the National Heroes’ Mausoleum in Remera.
In different communities across the country, Rwandans gathered to remind each other of the need to uphold heroic acts and values in order to continue building the country Rwandans deserve.
Deo Nkusi, the Executive Secretary of the Chancellery for Heroes, National Orders and Decorations of Honour (CHENO), said that the day remains important for Rwandans, especially the youth.
“We need to empower the youth so that they can pick up where Rwanda’s heroes left off and continue to build their country,” he said yesterday.
The Chancellery’s chairperson, Dr Pierre-Damien Habumuremyi, agreed, saying in an interview that Heroes’ Day is an opportunity to highlight examples that Rwandans should emulate.
“What is important about Heroes’ Day is to highlight good examples given by our heroes so that all Rwandans can learn from them,” he said.
Marie-Christine Umuhoza, the daughter of the late Agathe Uwilingiyimana, said that she had to come all the way from Switzerland where she lives to honour her late mother who is a hero in Rwanda.
“Love for people of all walks of life is the legacy we inherited from our parents. It should be an example for all Rwandans so the country can continue to make progress,” she said.
Adria Umurangamirwa, 82, said that forgetting the late Félicité Niyitegeka (a hero in the category of ‘Imena’), would be like forgetting God because Niyitegeka worked tirelessly to help humanity.
“Remembering her today is a good lesson and forgetting her is like forgetting God because she was very helpful to anyone in need. She wouldn’t go to bed before helping a patient in need or an old person who needed her care,” Umurangamirwa said about Niyitegeka who was her friend.
The Minister for Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu, said that as the government starts its 7 year term, celebrating Heroes’ Day remains an opportunity to look further ahead and encourage the youth to build on what has already been achieved.