President Kagame chaired the ceremony accompanied by government and security officials including Dr. Ngirente Edouard, Prime Minister of Rwanda, Dr. Iyamuremye Augustin, Senate President, Mukabalisa Donatille,
Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Maj Gen Albert Murasira, Minister of Defense in the Rwandan cabinet as well as Mbabazi Rosemary, Minister of Sports, Edouard Bamporiki, Minister of State in the Ministry of Sports and City of Kigali mayor, Pudence Rubingisa.
The ceremony started with singing the National Anthem followed by a minute of silence in honor of National Heroes who shed their blood to liberate the country and laying a wreath on National Heroes’ graves.
Each year on February 1st, Rwanda celebrates selfless and brave acts of people who put their lives at stake to save countless Rwandans amidst a ruthless mass slaughter.
Across the country, Rwandans celebrated this day in their respective villages where they were reminded to champion heroic values as portrayed by Rwanda’s heroes.
This year, the National Heroes Day was celebrated under the theme "Our heroism, Our dignity"
Deo Nkusi, the Executive Secretary of the Chancellery for Heroes, National Orders and Decorations of Honour ( CHENO) said that the dignity of the country emanates from its citizens and that therefore Rwandans should tirelessly work to dignify it.
"We must strive to uphold the values our heroes portrayed and contribute to build the country they hardly fought for. In times of war and sorrow, heroism was synonym of brave military actions and even today, security is one of the most important pillar holding our nation together."
He called upon the youth in particular to be exemplary in whatever they do and work hard to develop the country. "the youth is the future of our country and for that matter, we inculcate to them the Rwandan values we learned from our elders just so they use them as a pillar of development."
Nkusi said that the secret of development lies in hard work and unity.
The 26th National Heroes’ Day was preceded by the Heroism Week which started from January 24th to January 31st, 2020 with main activities including ’Ubutwari Tournament’. The tournament included sports disciplines, talk shows and conferences.
In the past three years, research identified 76 other people who showed acts of bravery, some of whom will be added to the list of Rwanda’s National Heroes.
According to the law establishing the Chancellery for Heroes, National Orders and Decorations of Honor "a hero is any person who pursues objectives he/she undertakes to obtain a special achievement for the public interest and with high proven integrity, sacrifice and noble courage in his/her acts and who avoids being a coward in his/her actions in very trying situations."
Rwandan heroes are classified into three categories which are:
- Imanzi: The unknown soldier and Major General Fred Gisa Rwigema.
- Imena: Mutara III Rudahigwa, Rwagasana Michel, Agathe Uwiringiyimana, Niyitegeka Félicité and Nyange students.
- Ingenzi: No hero was classified in this category.