ZAMBIA’S biggest trade exhibition in Ndola has to some extent contributed to citizens losing track of the
essence for the ‘four-day holiday’ in July.
The Zambia International Trade Fair (ZITF) coincides with the Heroes and Unity holidays.
As a result, the holidays have come to be known as the Trade Fair weekend.
Yet, the holidays were specially designated to honour our fallen heroes and then celebrate the unity that this country has continued to enjoy.
For a long time, only freedom fighters were celebrated as heroes but now even those who served in the military during the first and second world wars are included.
Heroism includes people who served the country diligently in various human endeavours like the academia, medicine, engineering, religious/faith leaders, police, prisons, air force, arts and sports, including members of the national team who perished off the coast of Libreville, Gabon, in April 1993, the 1974 KK 11 which finished second behind Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) in Cairo, Egypt, and the 2012 African Nations Cup winning squad.
Every country in the world has designated special days to remember their sacrifices and services.
Zambia, too, has its own days when it commemorates heroes and heroines for their contribution to this great country.
That is why Government set aside, among other days, May 25 (Africa Freedom Day), July (Heroes) and October (Independence).
However, some of these important commemorative days are seemingly being forgotten as people are celebrating them as mere holidays.
We rarely as a country, be it individually or collectively, set aside time in our schedules to remember our heroes.
We do not even ask ourselves why we have to remember them.
Even schools – private and public – have lost track of such important events on our calendar.
We should never as a nation lose focus but continue to honour our heroes.
We stand to gain by always remembering the essence for every holiday for the sake of posterity.
Our heroes, in whatever field they excelled for the good of this country, will always be our cult figures.
Nothing should stop Zambians from honouring their heroes.
There can be no future without the past.
We should ask ourselves how we will usher this country into the future without reminding ourselves how we got where we are.
This is more so for the young generation who may never understand the significance of some of these holidays such as the heroes and unity.
We may differ politically but when it comes to remembering our heroes, we should unite for their sake.
These are people we should look up to for inspiration because they toiled to make Zambia a better country.
Unity Day, on the other hand, reminds us about the need for citizens to close ranks across politics, religion and tribe.
We are ‘One Zambia, one nation’ and we should continue being so.