The significance of the Defence and Martyrs Day observed every September 6 is not limited to remembering our heroes only, it is also being cognizant of the importance of standing united as a nation in the face of any challenge. In our day-to-day lives, we hardly take the time to appreciate the luxury and privilege of living in an independent country — the privilege that is a result of countless sacrifices and which demanded many more since 1947, as the country has successfully tackled many threats on foreign and domestic fronts. Every September 6, the nation pays tribute to the shahuda and ghazis who fought and even sacrificed their lives for the defence of the freedom and peace that we enjoy today. And while we are greatly indebted to them, we also appreciate all the people who demonstrated their own blend of courage and selflessness and gave support and strength to these defenders from Armed Forces of Pakistan — namely their family and friends.
Martyrs are the heroes that we see but there are those behind them who are just as heroic because they have to live with their loss and yet they are willing to bear it — martyrs become heroes riding on the shoulders of parents who brought them up with values of patriotism, courage and selflessness, which remove any hesitation when it is time to lay their lives for a higher purpose; they become heroes because of the spouses, siblings, children and friends who do not stand in their way but instead fuel their courage and determination with their own.
This September 6, let us reaffirm our pledge to Pakistan that we will stand tall and united in the face of any adversity because we are a strong and proud nation. This is a day to celebrate our unity despite the diversity, and to remember that this is what makes us strong. The right message needs to be put out there for the women, youth and the children of this great nation that it is not the Armed Forces alone that thwart threats but it is the whole nation; not everyone needs to take up arms — unity, strength and support for those who are fighting are equally essential. Women, especially, have a great role to play, as it is they who bring a child up with the values that take them from the safety and comfort of their homes to the battlefield.
As is amply elaborated in the stories in this edition, women play a supportive role, in addition to being part of the Armed Forces, in the defence of the country in a variety of ways, like supporting and encouraging their men who go to defend the motherland, contributing to the economy thus making the country strong from within, and inculcating in their children the values of unity, integrity, honesty, valour, and pride in their national identity.
Let us take a minute and remember the men and women who have laid their lives for the nation, and resolve to make the most of our talents and potential to build a stronger country for our future generations. It is up to us to make Pakistan a country that will be united and strong enough to make any aggressor think twice before carrying out their devilish designs. HH
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