Category Archives: Victory Day

Remembering our heroes

 Appeared in the nation newspaper’s Jeans magazine on May 18
Roadblocks. The scorching sun. Checking vehicle after vehicle. Rude drivers and passengers. Fear. Exhaustion.

Their faces are rarely brightened by a smile. They sometimes make a joke, but only to keep away the fear. To feel like they live normal lives. Not ones that could end at any given moment.
Just a few years ago, our country was at war. We heard of explosions, shootings, death after death. It was a scary time to live in. Children were taken away, they were given weapons and uniforms. Stories about child soldiers brought fear to the hearts of parents. Just a few years ago, we couldn’t walk on the roads as we do now. Everywhere we looked were men in uniforms. They carried guns and looked at everyone as if they were the enemy.
You lived in the part of our not distant history when war was a word heard too often. You may not remember it all too well, but there are people who know nothing but the war. In 2009, just five years ago, that war came to an end. And who do we have to thank? Men who go about in big vehicles? Men who add title after title to their names?

The thinkers, the plan makers and decision makers played a huge role in ending the war. However, Victory Day isn’t for them. It’s for those who carried out their orders, who fearlessly fought for peace. And for what?  So that we can forget what they have sacrificed?
You don’t need to remember how many died, how many survived, and how many barely did. You don’t need to remember where the fighting took place, where the leaders lived and who the good guys were. It’s good if you do. It’s part of our history, our story, regardless of how dark those times were. However, what’s more important to remember is that each one of those soldiers fought for you. They sacrificed their lives so you could live a relatively safe life. They did what many couldn’t, and shot bullet after bullet at those who weren’t their own enemy so that you could go to school, have fun and live a good life.
After all, those battles, some won, others lost, what do they get? One day in a 365 day calendar where some remember to not forget them? We often curse the parades. We consider it all a waste of money and a waste of time. We think the war is given too much attention and we don’t see the point of talking about it, five years since its end.

There are many war-related sites in the Northern Province. Just after the war ended, many flocked to see where this leader lived or that leader died. There were young men of the armed forces giving visitors information about these sites. And as they described the war, even though those same words were uttered several times, their voices cracked as they described the last few battles, which resulted in so many deaths and so much damage. These were men who didn’t just drive past houses that were covered in bullet holes. They camped in those broken down houses, hoping they won’t be caught. They spent night and day hoping these power hungry leaders would solve their problems without dragging innocent men into this seemingly never ending war.

These are not exaggerated stories or feelings. These men aren’t pretending to be tired and hurt. They had no say when they lost a limb or two. They never willingly or happily stepped on a land mine.
Decades from now, the soldiers who survived will also be dead. Their graves will be visited by family only. The story of the war will be told by those who planned it, instead of those who fought it. And what’s your duty? To forget these men and women who sacrificed everything for a country whose people aren’t at war with each other?
Remember them. Remember what they did. Remember their fearless dedication to their nation. Remember them because that’s all they can ask from you. Remember them, and never forget.

Roadblocks. The scorching sun. Checking vehicle after vehicle. Rude drivers and passengers. Fear. Exhaustion.
Their faces are rarely brightened by a smile. They sometimes make a joke, but only to keep away the fear. To feel like they live normal lives. Not ones that could end at any given moment.
Just a few years ago, our country was at war. We heard of explosions, shootings, death after death. It was a scary time to live in. Children were taken away, they were given weapons and uniforms. Stories about child soldiers brought fear to the hearts of parents. Just a few years ago, we couldn’t walk on the roads as we do now. Everywhere we looked were men in uniforms. They carried guns and looked at everyone as if they were the enemy.
You lived in the part of our not distant history when war was a word heard too often. You may not remember it all too well, but there are people who know nothing but the war. In 2009, just five years ago, that war came to an end. And who do we have to thank? Men who go about in big vehicles? Men who add title after title to their names?
The thinkers, the plan makers and decision makers played a huge role in ending the war. However, Victory Day isn’t for them. It’s for those who carried out their orders, who fearlessly fought for peace. And for what?  So that we can forget what they have sacrificed?
You don’t need to remember how many died, how many survived, and how many barely did. You don’t need to remember where the fighting took place, where the leaders lived and who the good guys were. It’s good if you do. It’s part of our history, our story, regardless of how dark those times were. However, what’s more important to remember is that each one of those soldiers fought for you. They sacrificed their lives so you could live a relatively safe life. They did what many couldn’t, and shot bullet after bullet at those who weren’t their own enemy so that you could go to school, have fun and live a good life.
After all, those battles, some won, others lost, what do they get? One day in a 365 day calendar where some remember to not forget them? We often curse the parades. We consider it all a waste of money and a waste of time. We think the war is given too much attention and we don’t see the point of talking about it, five years since its end
There are many war-related sites in the Northern Province. Just after the war ended, many flocked to see where this leader lived or that leader died. There were young men of the armed forces giving visitors information about these sites. And as they described the war, even though those same words were uttered several times, their voices cracked as they described the last few battles, which resulted in so many deaths and so much damage. These were men who didn’t just drive past houses that were covered in bullet holes. They camped in those broken down houses, hoping they won’t be caught. They spent night and day hoping these power hungry leaders would solve their problems without dragging innocent men into this seemingly never ending war.
These are not exaggerated stories or feelings. These men aren’t pretending to be tired and hurt. They had no say when they lost a limb or two. They never willingly or happily stepped on a land mine.
Decades from now, the soldiers who survived will also be dead. Their graves will be visited by family only. The story of the war will be told by those who planned it, instead of those who fought it. And what’s your duty? To forget these men and women who sacrificed everything for a country whose people aren’t at war with each other?
Remember them. Remember what they did. Remember their fearless dedication to their nation. Remember them because that’s all they can ask from you. Remember them, and never forget.
– See more at: http://www.nation.lk/edition/jeans/item/29174-remembering-our-heroes.html#sthash.m7qwPg9s.dpuf