A Large number of people, including schoolchildren and army veterans, gathered at the Chandigarh War Memorial, Sector 3, here Saturday to pay tributes to martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the nation, on the occasion of Martyr’s Day.
A wreath-laying ceremony was organised. Governor of Punjab and Haryana and UT Administrator Kaptan Singh Solanki and Lt Gen K J Singh, GOC-in-C, Western Command, laid wreaths at the memorial.
Wreaths were also laid by veterans, including former army chief general (retd) V P Malik. A choir was performed by student of Army Public School, Chandimandir. Two-minute silence was also observed in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi and the martyrs.
The national song, Vande Mataram, was played by the Gorkha military band adding to the patriotic fervour while the multi-faith prayers in reverence to the martyrs characterised the unity in diversity ethos of the country.
“On Martyrs’ Day, I pay homage to all those martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the nation. I also pay homage to the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi,” Prof Solanki wrote in the visitor’s book.
The Chandigarh War Memorial, which was set up with a citizens’ initiative led by The Indian Express, was dedicated to the nation by former president A P J Abdul Kalam in 2006. It is the largest war memorial of its kind in the country, with names of over 10,500 martyrs — belonging to Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh — who sacrificed their lives for the nation since independence.
While paying tribute to the martyrs, Lt Colonel (retd) Baldev Singh Dhillon, said: “Today we have come to pay our homage to all the heroes who have laid down their life for the motherland and this is a big achievement by The Indian Express in Chandigarh. This memorial is dedicated to all war heroes and it is a good thing that we have this memorial here. It should be a monument, where even tourists who come to Chandigarh should pay their respect here. Our freedom is because of all these heroes who laid down their life for the country.”
Col (Retd) Inder Mohan said, “This is a day that all Indians must mark… The way we celebrate Independence Day and Republic Day. This day is equally important for all of us to dedicate and think about what our soldiers have done for the nation. This particular day should motivate the young generation to follow in their footsteps… Because India is such a country where we have lot of young people. Such events brings about a patriotic feeling among the youth — the future of this country.”
Calling for more civilian participation, Lt Gen (retd) H R S Mann said, “I personally feel we could have more civilian participation. The aim is to tell them as well what all is this about. It should be regularly done and all with a sense of purpose.”
Echoing Mann’s sentiments, Col (retd) GS Bajwa, said, “This is the time when we can remember all those who have given their lives for the nation… We must remember our colleagues like this.”
Lt Gen (retd) Amar Aul said, “I feel that more civilians, the public, should be here to watch such events. We are here to pay tributes to the martyrs and we will be always here.”