“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”
“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile”, opines Albert Einstein. Suffice it to say that the spirit cum the zeal to serve selflessly and pour out oneself profusely in service, for the good of “a neighbor” and betterment of the nation at large, is a worthwhile life. Such a life depicts a Patriot and a Nationalist.
Today, the 15th day of January has been dedicated as a day we remember and pay homage to the selfless and unquantifiable sacrifices our armed forces made and still make for us as individuals and for the nation at large. Today is a day to honour all those brave Men and Women who have served or are still serving their country with bravery, dedication and self-sacrifice.
Yes, they put up selfless sacrifices for us; keeping awake that we might sleep and giving their lives that we might not lose all the things we love. As we sleep peacefully on our beds, our “Gallant Men and Valiant Women” stand on guard, ready to give their lives for our freedom. They keep awake in the bush, in cold weather, on high sea, to make sure we sleep and snore peacefully. They are separated from their families and loved ones so we can be united with ours. They lay down their lives that we might live.
As a country, they give up themselves that we can be united and have our sovereignty upheld. According to Barrack Obama, “the soldier’s courage and sacrifice is full of glory, expressing devotion to country, to cause, to comrades in arms.” In all these their invaluable sacrifices, we need to appreciate them. We need to let them know that we are grateful. Buttressing this further, Harry S. Truman asserts; “our debt to the Heroic men and Valliant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. We will never forget their sacrifices.” Yes, we should never forget their unflinching and unwavering loyalty and love for our beloved nation; we should never forget their unquantifiable sacrifices.
An epitaph on a soldier’s grave reads:
I did my duty,
I paid the supreme price,
I pray you’ll remember,
My life was short,
I did my best.
God grant me peace,
In my eternal rest.
What a heart-rending epitaph! Yes, they wish that we forget not their sacrifices. “The labours and sacrifices of our Heroes past shall never be in vain”! Let us remember to extend helping hands to their widows, widowers, bereaved siblings and orphaned children. They are in that condition today because their loved ones laid down their lives that we might enjoy the company of our own loved ones.
I call on the Federal government to create a welfare scheme that will take care of the immediate families of those who lost/lose their lives while fighting to protect the lives of Nigerians and the integrity of our great Nation. The welfare scheme should include; life remuneration of the bereaved wife, husband, or parents (for the unmarried ones), scholarship for the children left behind and an employment opportunity for one of the members of the deceased family.
In the same vein, those of them who suffer one incapacitation or the other, sequel to injuries gotten at the battlefield, should be placed on life remuneration and have one of the members of their families gainfully employed or on scholarship.
Such wonderful gestures from the Federal government, if properly implemented, will boost the vital force of our gallant soldiers and security personnel who are at the battle frontline in the war against terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and the likes.
It is disheartening to hear that the families of those who sacrificed their lives at the battlefield, so that we might live and enjoy with our families, are left without any succor or welfare package from the Federal government. This discourages the security personnel from giving in their best for the nation while some are lured to compromise. The truth is that no one would wish to “die in vain”; they should be given cogent reasons for them to lay down their lives for the sake of our dear nation.
I wish to thank all our security personnel, especially those at the battlefield. I salute your patriotic spirit, I revere your sacrifices. Thank you for all you do for our cherished nation and for us all. Thank you for refusing to give up and for your determination to win this war against terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and the likes. I equally admonish the “black goats” in the security agencies to desist from tarnishing the good image of our gallant security forces. Those your misdemeanors, and acts that are outside the rules of engagement, often water down the immeasurable efforts of the majority of the personnel. Remember the oath you took to uphold the interest of the nation, above personal interests; be guided by the fact that whatever seed we sow today we shall eventually reap.
May God strengthen and bless all our military men, comfort the families of those who lost their lives for our sake and grant blissful rest to our departed Heroes. We are proud of you!!!
“A true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him”.
By: Rt. Hon. Rikki Chinedu Nwajiofor.
Speaker, Ndigbo Youth Parliament (NYP).