M A I N   N E W S

President dedicates memorial to nation
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
The President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, today called upon the countrymen to work for making the country not only rich and prosperous but also safe by 2020.

He also promised to initiate the process for raising a national war memorial in the national capital to commemorate the soldiers who made supreme sacrifices for the country since 1947.

Saying that such a monument would be the country's way of expressing gratitude to her martyrs, he said, I shall work for it once I am in Delhi. Dr Kalam was addressing a select gathering after dedicating to the nation the Chandigarh War Memorial here, a unique monument dedicated to India's post-Independence martyrs, here.

The memorial has been set up by the Indian Express Group and the Chandigarh Administration at a cost of Rs 78 lakh and contains the names of about 8,500 martyrs from the region. The funds for the project were collected by the newspaper group through its citizen's initiative campaign.

Lauding people's efforts in building the war memorial, Dr Kalam, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said that it was heartening to note that part of the funds would be used to refurbish schools and hospitals in rural areas to which the martyrs belonged.

"Let us resolve today that we shall work with great unity and singular determination with a vision to make our nation, all its states, not only rich and prosperous, but above all a safe nation invulnerable forever to invasions across its borders: on land, sea and air and further into history, to aggression from space", Dr Kalam noted.

We should also save our country from soft aggression to our technology and market forces," he said.

"The people of this strategically important region of our nation have, from time immemorial, earned the respect and gratitude of the entire nation by their valour, bravery and sacrifice, defending the country and its democratic, cultural and spiritual heritage against repeated waves of invasion and alien rule over the centuries," he asserted.

Dr Kalam said the region around Chandigarh is among the "strategic fronts of our nation". Earlier, terming the war memorial a "mission", Mr Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief of the Indian Express, thanked the President for his "support and inspiration".

The Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (Retd), said those who made supreme sacrifices for the country should not be remembered only on special occasions.

Lieut-gen JFR Jacob (Retd), during whose tenure the ambitious project was conceptualised in 2003, said it was time to introspect and ask ourselves whether we were doing enough for the widows and children of martyrs.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Dr A.R. Kidwai, Haryana Governor, Justice V. S. Kokje, Himachal Governor, Mr Bhupinder Hooda, Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, Himachal Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Pawan Bansal, Union Minister of State for Finance, Lieut-Gen Daljeet Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, and Air Marshal A.K Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command.





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