RID 3232 salutes martyrs of the Armed Forces
Rotary Club of Madras Bay City, RID 3232, recently organised an All-Faith Memorial Service at the Anna University campus in Chennai. “Through this solemn ceremony, we are spreading the message of the supreme sacrifices of our soldiers to the citizens, especially the youth, and reassure the serving officers and veterans that their sacrifices would not go in vain,” said DG G Chandramohan, speaking at this memorial service being held for the eighth consecutive year. He thanked Professor M K Surappa, Vice-Chancellor, Anna University, for hosting the special event which was attended by NCC cadets, students and faculty.
Delivering his address after laying a wreath, Rear Admiral K J Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Naval Area, said the soldiers and officers of the defence forces were the ‘torchbearers of secularism’ for they come from diverse backgrounds and perform duties with ‘great passion’. Academic institutions have to inculcate patriotism among the youth by holding events that highlight the arduous tasks of soldiers and personnel in guarding the country’s frontiers on land, at sea or in air, he said.
Kumar also called upon the media to portray the gallantry of the Armed Forces and “celebrate their heroism, rather than focusing on controversial issues, as this will go a long way in inspiring the youth to join the defence services.” Vice Admiral B Kannan, CEO, Larsen and Toubro Shipbuilding, referring to the newly inaugurated National War Memorial near India Gate in Delhi, said, “you will experience a lump in your throat and your eyes well-up when you go through the inscription of the names of over 25,000 soldiers martyred during many wars the country had fought since Independence.”
Recalling his tenure as DRDO Chairman, S Christopher, an alumnus of the institute, said, “many people don’t know the daunting circumstances in which our Armed Forces operate to guard our nation.” He could not even breathe properly or move around freely at a high-altitude military lab in Leh, “but our soldiers man these heights with singular devotion.” From a missile test-launch by a submarine off Vizag to fitting AWACAS aircraft with an electronic device, “I found it very tough to reach the spot and try to be my normal self.” Commodore K P Ramachandran, IPP, RC Madras Bay City, anchored the memorial service and Club President Suresh Krishnaswamy gave the vote of thanks.
RCs Chennai IT City, Madras Central Aadithya, Chennai Spotlight, Guindy, Anna Nagar Aadithya, Chennai Prestige and Madras Vadapalani co-hosted the event. PDG I S A K Nazar, club presidents and Rotarians were present along with around 250 NCC cadets and students at the event. Russian Consul General Oleg N Avdeev and Japanese Consul General Kojiro Uchiyama were special invitees.
DG Chandramohan planted saplings on the campus to kick-off a social forestry scheme which involves growing trees in gated communities and institutions. “We have planted 20 saplings on the campus to begin with and will ensure their proper upkeep. This green drive is part of our ROOTS (Rotary organised ownership of tree systems) project and hopefully, this will gather pace once the groundwater table is recharged after the monsoon rains,” said Krishnaswamy.