We should always appreciate our men and women in uniform

Rwanda Defense Force in action during Army week in 2017 in Kicukiro District last year.
Rwanda Defense Force participating in umuganda (community work) during Army Week in 2017 in Kicukiro District last year. / Sam Ngendahimana

In many countries, even the most developed, war veterans do not always get the necessary support to reintegrate into civilian life.

Life is even worse for those disabled while in service for their nations with many resorting to substance abuse to escape from their worries.

In some countries, especially on our continent, it is most likely that the physically challenged beggar one meets once bore arms and the cause he fought for has forgotten him or her.

As we go to press, over 30 families of war veterans in Kayonza are happily occupying new lodgings built by a collective group of people; from members of the military serving in peace keeping missions in Darfur, NGOs and even district authorities.

Those are just some of the many projects that accompany veterans and the exercise continues.

Many countries make the mistake of abandoning war veterans, forgetting that they have been equipped with dangerous skills which could be put to bad use out of desperation.

In Rwanda, it is a different story. Veterans are accompanied in civilian life. Many are grouped in various income-generating cooperatives, environmental protection or even guard street parking duties.

This country has much to be grateful for due to our men and women in uniform who deserve a place of honour – spiritually and physically.

Without necessarily making it a national event, districts should be encouraged to set aside a day to honour the men and women who bore arms; something like Veterans’ Day as a sign of appreciation.

That is an idea that could be mulled Liberation Day this year by celebration bravery and sacrifice two main ingredients that accompanied our liberators all throughout the struggle.

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