President Paul Kagame and the First Lady Jeannette Kagame on Tuesday joined Rwandans to mark the 29th National Heroes Day by laying a wreath on the symbol of heroes at the National Heroes Mausoleum located in Remera, City of Kigali.
On February 1 every year, Rwanda marks the National Heroes Day in honour of the country’s remarkable individuals who exemplified and defended the highest values of patriotism and sacrifice for Rwanda and its citizens.
Observed under the theme “Our Heroism, Our Dignity,” the annual celebration honours national heroes as a source of inspiration for Rwandans to excel in all their undertakings.
President Kagame, through Twitter shared a message of hope, pointing out that the courage of the country’s heroes will continue to encourage the nation to go through the challenges it faces even today.
“Today, we honour the Rwandan men and women whose bravery and patriotism laid the foundation for a nation of a people determined to shape their own destiny,”
“As we face challenges of regional and global nature, today is a reminder of our ability to stand up for what is right, to protect our nation and to build a legacy of prosperity for generations. Happy Heroes Day!” President Kagame tweeted.
Speaking after the wreath laying ceremony, Deo Nkusi, Executive Secretary, Chancellery for Heroes, National Orders and Decorations of Honour (CHENO) said that the National Heroes Day is an important day for the country, where individual who did extraordinary things for the sake of the nation are recognised.
“It is an important day which was put in place to recognise people who were exemplary and sacrificed their own lives for the better of the country. We remember them and pay tribute to them. They continue to inspire us everyday,” Nkusi said.
He pointed out that research is being done to identify more heroes and identify their deeds before they are categorised as heroes, especially for the third category ‘Igenzi’, which is yet to have people named under it.
“Everyday we see many Rwandans sacrificing themselves to make a difference in their communities. We will continue to identify them and update the categories regularly,” he pointed out.
He called on Rwandans to mark the day by drawing inspiration from the national heroes and engage in activities that positively contribute to nation building.
CHENO was established in 2009 to identify, thank, honour and celebrate the memory of Rwandan citizens or foreigners who distinguish themselves through heroism and other acts of bravery, and serve as good examples to others.
Some of the national heroes including Maj. Gen Fred Gisa Rwigema, who is in the Imanzi category, recognised for leading the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF- Inkotanyi) liberation struggle in 1990 and was killed on the frontline, along with the ‘unknown soldier’.
Others who belong to the ‘Imena’ category, include King Mutara II Rudahigwa, former Prime Minister Agathe Uwiringiyimana, Michel Rwagasana, Felicite Niyitegeka and Nyange students, all recognised for standing up against ethnic divisions.