By Taonga Sabola, Feston Malekezo & Jarson Malowa:
President Lazarus Chakwera Sunday led Malawians in commemorating Remembrance Day, a memorial event observed since the end of the First World War to remember personnel who have died in the line of duty.
The day was celebrated across the country by the laying of wreaths, prayers and hymns.
The main event marking the day took place at the Area 18 cenotaph in Lilongwe, where Chakwera alongside Vice President Saulos Chilima laid wreaths to honour the fallen heroes.
Other people who laid their wreaths in Lilongwe included Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Gotani Hara, Chief Justice Rizine Mzikamanda, Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba, Malawi Defence Force Commander Vincent Nundwe, Inspector General of Police Merelyn Yolamu, heads of foreign missions, representative of the Leader of Opposition in Parliament Nicholas Dausi and Lilongwe City Mayor Richard Banda.
Chairperson for the Veteran and Ex-Service League of Malawi, retired general Henry Odilo, said although the fallen soldiers were mainly fighting in Europe a long time ago, there is a need to continue honouring them.
In Mzuzu City, prayers for good rains dominated the agenda on the day.
Apart from having a short religious service, there were no speeches at the military event.
The event started at 11am. This is because, on November 11 exactly 104 years ago, warring groups reached a consensus to end World War I, which claimed lives of over 10 million combatants and left 20 million others wounded.
At 11:01am, a gunshot was fired in Mzuzu, followed by two minutes of total silence in remembrance of all ex-service men and women who lost their lives in the first and second world wars.
And, again, the sound of gunfire, this time of plastic explosives, cut through the air, signifying the end of the moment of silence.
There was, then, a bugle call, known as ‘The Last Post’, which was played before the reflective crowd.
Youth Minister Richard Chimwendo Banda led Malawians in remembering fallen heroes, capping it all by laying a wreath at the Mzuzu Cenotaph.
Others who laid wreaths included Army Commander of Land Forces Chikunkha Soko, Commissioner of Police for the Northern Region Rhoda Manjolo, Representative of the Chief Justice, Mzuzu City Council Chief Executive Officer Gomezgani Nyasulu and Mzuzu City Mayor Gift Desire Nyirenda.
In the old capital, Zomba, Mining Minister Albert Mbawala led Malawians in commemorating the day at an event held at the War Memorial Tower.
Leader of the Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa was at the event and laid a wreath. Others that laid wreaths included Mbawala, Malawi Defence Force Deputy Commander Paul Valentino Phiri and Commissioner of Police in the Eastern Region Violet Magwaya.
Aisha Adams, who represented Gotani Hara, Textious Masoamphambe, who represented the Judiciary, and Zomba City Mayor Davie Maunde also laid wreaths.
The First World War occurred between July 1914 and November 11 1918.
The Second World War, which took place between 1939 and 1945, left 50 million people dead.