The South African National Defense Force (SANDF) has paid tribute to its soldiers who lost their lives while serving the country and the continent as part of UN peacekeeping forces.
During the event at De Brug outside Bloemfontein, SANDF Chief, General Solly Shoke, unveiled a plaque and wall of remembrance in remembrance of the fallen soldiers.
Shoke addressed families of the 55 soldiers that died in peace operations since 2003, saying the men paid the highest price for peace on the continent and they will always be remembered.
The flags of the SANDF with flags of its four arms as well as the UN peacekeeping flag towering over the wall of remembrance coloured the celebration of those who lived and died for peace on the African continent.
More than 200 family members of the 55 soldiers who died, laid roses at the wall of remembrance. The parade of commemoration will become an annual event during the UN International Peacekeepers Day on 29 May, honouring those who lost their lives in preserving peace outside the South African borders.
Shoke says if there is peace in Africa, South Africa will also experience peace.
“We believe in peace, and we believe when there is peace on the continent, our country will also be able to experience peace. We are aware events are taking place around us. When there is no peace, one way or the other, it does affect us economically and politically and otherwise.”
Shoke says families should be proud of the soldiers who died for their country.
“To families of members, as much as it is painful, I’m sure you must be proud that they died in line of duty. They died for their nation, they will be forever remembered by the people of the country. No matter how painful, we in uniform will always remember them. They served the country, they served the nation. They served with pride and dignity.”
Family members say it was a day to remember their loved ones with pride in their hearts.
“I feel very proud of our government to think about us. I think they are doing a great job to remember them, we feel honoured that they are never forgotten.”
The memory of these brave men and women will forever live on in the history of South Africa. I’m
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