From 'Poppy Day' to Nigerian Armed Forces Remembrance Day
The Armed Forces and Remembrance Day celebration is an annual event to honour members of the Nigerian Armed Forces who fought in the first and second World Wars, and those who served or are still serving in various peace support operations worldwide as well as those who fought in the Nigerian civil war. The Day is to celebrate both the dead and the living heroes including all those who suffered various deprivations as a result of wars.
The Day was initially marked on the eleventh of November every year to coincide with the Remembrance Day popularly known as “Poppy Day” or “11 – 11” for the first and Second World War veterans in all commonwealth countries.
In view of some significant historical developments in Nigeria, it is celebrated on the 15th of January every year. The change to January 15 of every year was done in commemoration of the surrender of Biafran troops to the Federal troops on 15 January 1970, a date that signals the end of the Nigerian Civil War whichsought to tear apart the unity of Nigeria.
From thence, it has become a national ritual when on every January 15 nationwide, military personnel including the Army, the Navy, the Air force and the Nigerian Legion converge in different centres across the nation to celebrate the day and give honour to the fallen and living heroes who hazarded and continue to hazard their lives for the territorial integrity of the nation and for peace to reign worldwide. The event is held at the federal, state and local levels where either serving military officers reside or where living ex-service men occupy.
Several events including release of pigeons to symbolize peace, placing of wreaths, playing of the last post, Remembrance Day parade, shooting of guns and others characterise this memorable day. The army officers are usually attired in diverse colours typical of their fields be it Navy, Air force, Army and the ex-service men. Beside parades, placing of wreaths and releasing of pigeons, the event also witnesses religious services in both mosques and churches nationwide.
Jan 15, 2017