“When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today,” the very lines written at the National War Memorial are more of a message for people around — a soldier never fights for himself or his family but for the country at large.
India is celebrating the 23rd anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas after it ousted the Pakistani army from their occupied positions on the mountain tops of Northern Kargil district in Ladakh in 1999. The battles were fought in Dras, Kargil and Batalik sectors during Operation Vijay are a testimony to the valour and sacrifice of Indian soldiers.
From Delhi, where the iconic National War Memorial stands, Dras where a significant event has been planned by the Indian Army and Air Force, families of martyrs are celebrating the day remembering the sacrifice of their loved ones.
The Indian Army, in line with celebrations every year, planned a wreath-laying ceremony at Kargil War Memorial in Dras as a tribute to soldiers who lost their lives in the 1999 war. The three service chiefs — Army Chief General Manoj Pande, Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar and Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari – took part in the ceremony at the National War Memorial in Delhi. Families in Kargil Apartments in Dwarka area of Delhi paid homage to martyrs with ‘puja’ and ‘hawan’.
Children, whose fathers had died in the war, are all grown up now. Many of them are either working or studying. Raksha, who was two years old when her father died in the Kargil war, is an engineer today. Remembering her father, she says, “My father was brave. I am happy that he fought for the country. He was my hero and will always be.”
Late Lance Naik Arun Kumar’s family is proud of him today. His wife Neelam Singh gets emotional remembering those days. She says, “My son was five months old then, and now he is 23. I know the kind of problems I have faced during the years. But, this gives me a sense of relief that his sacrifice did not go in vain. I pray for peace in the whole world today because I know what a war results in for families of soldiers.”
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted on Tuesday, “They fought valiantly in extremely harsh conditions to defend our motherland. Their act of valour & indomitable spirit will remain etched forever as a defining moment in India’s history.”