President Peter Mutharika yesterday led Malawians in paying tribute to fallen heroes of the First and Second World wars during a Remembrance Sunday commemoration at the Zomba War Memorial Tower.
The occasion was also to honour Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers who died in the line of duty in Mozambique, Côte d’Ivoire and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in recent years.
At 11am, the people who gathered at the Zomba War Memorial Tower at Cobbe Barracks observed a two-minute silence as two maroons were sounded followed by The Last Post usually played to respect fallen heroes.
The President, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, laid a wreath on the cenotaph in memory of soldiers who died and those that were wounded in the First World War from 1914 to 1918 and the Second World War from 1939 to 1945.
According to MDF, the Remembrance Sunday is set aside to pay tribute primarily to soldiers who died in the line of duty in the two world wars.
Besides paying tribute to the war veterans and fallen heroes, the President also led Malawians in honouring soldiers who died during United Nations peacekeeping missions in different countries.
During the ceremony, MDF Commander General Vincent Nundwe, acting Inspector General of Police Duncan Mwapasa, Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara, Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Lloyd Muhara were among dignitaries who laid their wreaths.
The list also included representatives of Commonwealth Ex-Servicemen League of Malawi, war veterans and serving soldiers.
British High Commissioner Holy Tett, Zomba City Mayor Benson Bula, representatives of Malawi Red Cross Society and St. John Ambulance Association also took their turns to lay wreaths to honour the fallen heroes.
The ceremony was spiced by interdenominational prayers whose theme acknowledged the labour and sacrifice of those wounded or died in the two world wars, recent years’ combats and peace keeping missions, saying their devotion should inspire Malawians.
In Mzuzu, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Symon Vuwa Kaunda represented the President at a similar ceremony.
In Lilongwe, Minister of Labour, Skills and Innovation Martha Lunji Chanjo represented the President in laying the wreath at the pillar where MDF Deputy Commander Lieutenant General Clement Namangale and other dignitaries, including diplomats, also paid tribute to the fallen heroes.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency, a Second World War survivor, Moses Duncan, said it was an honour to him and the fallen heroes to be celebrated.
Guns went silent at 11am on November 11 1918 following a truce to end the First World War. Worldwide, over 10 million men died in the line of duty while over 20 million were wounded.
Additional reporting by Andrew Nyondo, Staff Reporter