A country is known by the people it honours and our brave soldiers who make the supreme sacrifice while defending the nation deserve our eternal gratitude. This was the common sentiment among students who flocked to the Chandigarh War Memorial in Sector 3 to pay their respect to these brave hearts on the occasion of Martyrs’ Day on Wednesday.
The students lit candles in memory of the soldiers who were martyred while protecting the country. “It is unfortunate that we have forgotten the sacrifices of these men,” said Padma Chosdon, a Class 11t student of DAV Public School, Sector 15. Padma, who wants to join the Indian Navy, said as citizens it’s important for everyone to take pride in their country.
Ikram Brar, a Class X student of Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36, who was visiting the War memorial for the first time, spent a while looking for the name of Major Vikram Batra, the Kargil martyr. “I never knew so many soldiers had sacrificed their lives for us,” some students chorused as they went around the memorial, studying the black plaques carrying the names of soldier, martyred in various operations. A NCC student beamed when he found the name of one Umrao Singh, a distant relative, and pointed it out to his friends. “He is our village hero,” he recounted. For Brar, it was an inspiring experience. “I am an NCC cadet and I have always dreamt of conquering the blue skies but after this visit, I am more than ever determined to join the Air Force,” he said.
Komal, a Class XI student of DAV School, said it was important for everyone to visit such memorials as a mark of respect for the brave soldiers. “It’s only after coming here that I realised the enormity of the sacrifice our defence forces make for us.’
For many students, the operations and the wars listed on the walls were a lesson in history. As one asked the other, “Do you know there was an operation called ‘Goli’?” There were others who wanted to know the outcome of the Indo-China war.
Khaitan Malhotra, a student of Guru Nanak Public School, said the long list of names on the walls saddened him. “It’s so important for them to know that we will never forget them.” A regular at the Bougainvillaea Garden remarked that while Martyrs’ Day is a good occasion to remember the soldiers, it is important to ensure that their sacrifices are not wasted by irresponsible politicians.