Today is the Armed Forces Remembrance Day. Armed Forces Remembrance Day is an annual event marked on January 15 to commemorate the nation’s departed compatriots as well as to honour our living veterans.
The following are what you need to know about the day:
1. Every year in Nigeria, January 15 is marked as a special day known as “Armed Forces Remembrance Day” or simply “Armed Forces Day.”
2. In the past, it was observed on November 11 each year, aligning with the Remembrance Day (Poppy Day) for World War II veterans in the British Commonwealth of Nations.
In Nigeria, the date of January 15 holds significance as it marks the surrender of Biafran troops to the Federal troops in 1970. This event marked the end of the Nigerian Civil War, which aimed to divide the unity of Nigeria.
3. Each year, a solemn gathering takes place at the cenotaph of the “unknown soldier,” where security chiefs, political leaders, members of the Nigerian legion, and other stakeholders come together to pay tribute to our brave war veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefield.
4. A cenotaph is a solemn memorial that pays tribute to individuals or a collective, even though their physical remains rest elsewhere. It serves as a powerful symbol of remembrance and respect. It can also serve as the original burial place for an individual who has later been laid to rest in a different location. Many soldiers who lose their lives in war are laid to rest on the battlefield, which is why cenotaphs are necessary. Cenotaphs can be found in every state, including the FCT Abuja.
5. A wreath is a beautiful arrangement of flowers, leaves, fruits, twigs, or other materials that is carefully crafted into a circular shape. It is then placed as a symbol of respect and tribute to the unidentified soldier at the cenotaph.
6. The term “Unknown soldier” is used to symbolise the brave war veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for the peace and unity of our nation.
7. White pigeons are set free during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day event, symbolising the ideals of peace and unity within the nation. In addition, traditional gun salutes are carried out by firing cannons or artillery as a tribute to the unidentified soldier.
8. Before the festivities, the Federal and State governments introduce the Armed Forces emblem, a symbol of respect for the unknown soldier.
9. The emblem serves as a means to generate financial support and contributions for the families and dependents of fallen war veterans. It is expected that all Nigerian citizens will make contributions to the funds and proudly display the emblem.
10. Remember to proudly display the Armed Forces Remembrance emblem on your left hand pocket, the same side where you attach your lanyard.
11. The emblem is to be worn once it has been officially launched by the President in Abuja or by the Governor in the states.
12. After January 15, when the President or Governor lays the wreath on the cenotaph of the unknown soldier, the emblem is no longer valid and should not be worn.