July 19, 2017
Myanmar officially observed Martyrs’ Day yesterday, the 70th anniversary of the assassination of independence heroes including General Aung San, father of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, with a state ceremony at the Martyrs’ Mausoleum in Yangon.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi laid a wreath at the tombs of the martyrs, including that of her father Bogyoke Aung San, and eight other leaders who were assassinated in 1947.
The State Counsellor paid her respects as hundreds of spectators, officials, observers and security personnel looked on.
Before the ceremony, the State Counsellor, Vice-President U Myint Swe, Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker U Win Myint, Amyotha Hluttaw Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than, Union Chief Justice U Htun Htun Oo and Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing greeted families of the fallen martyrs at a hall in the Martyrs’ Mausoleum.
The Vice President, the Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker, the Amyotha Hluttaw Speaker, the Union Chief Justice and the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services paid tribute to the fallen martyrs by placing wreath of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in front of the mausoleum.
With the Myanmar flag flying at half-mast, a guard of honour paid tribute with a gun salute. Those present observed two minutes of silence to pay tribute to General Aung San and the other martyrs.
Following the ceremonial tribute, families of the martyrs including U Hla Pe, on behalf of General Aung San’s son U Aung San Oo, and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi paid their respects and laid wreaths in front of the monument.
Then, the Yangon Region Chief Minister, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Yangon Region Hluttaw, Regional Ministers, parliamentarians, representatives from political parties, associations, UN agencies, the European Union and foreign embassies in Myanmar paid tribute and laid wreaths at the Martyrs’ Mausoleum.
Among the organizations which laid wreaths and paid tribute were Myanmar War Veterans Organization, Myanmar Fire Services Department, Myanmar Red Cross Society, Myanma Motion Picture Asiayone, Myanmar Artists Asiayone, Myanmar Sculptures Asiayone, Myanmar Publishers and Distributors Asiayone, Myanmar Writers Asiayone, Myanmar Journalists Association, Myanmar Press Council, Myanmar Women’s Affairs Federation and Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association.
General Aung San, the founder of Myanmar’s armed forces, led the fight for Burmese independence from British colonial rule. He died at the age of 32, just months before the country gained independence on 4th January, 1948.
Myanmar’s national flag was flown at half-mast across the country yesterday to mark the event.
A siren was sounded by Myanmar Radio and Television at 10:37 am local time to observe the time of the assassination of the martyrs.
All over the country at the same time, people stopped walking, workers paused and drivers sounded their horns for about a minute in commemoration.
In Yangon, following the official ceremony, the martyrs’ mausoleum was opened to the public.
In Bahan, the Aung San Museum was opened at 6 am in honour of Martyrs’ Day. Until 23 July, admission to both locals and foreigners will be free.
Downtown, the Secretariat building where Bogyoke Aung San and other leaders were gunned down on 19 July, 1947, will be opened to the public for the next three days.
This year, the cabinet room in which they were assassinated will be available for viewing by the public. The room had been turned into a Buddhist shrine room until last year. It has since been restored with the same table and chairs the leaders used for the cabinet meeting when they were assassinated 70 years ago.