If I was to define a “hero,” I would have a million people that I would call my hero. A hero can be; as a hero is from the smallest acts of kindness to a doctor and nurse covered in blood. A burned firefighter that just saved a baby from death; someone he or she will never know. A police officer who doesn’t think twice when he or she sees someone suffering; to buy them socks and shoes. In the eyes of the suffering, that person just became a hero for their act of selfless kindness.
The dictionary defines the word hero as:
- A person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character; He became a local hero when he saved the drowning child.
- A person who, in the opinion of others, has special achievements, abilities, or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal. “My older sister is my hero”. Entrepreneurs can be our modern heroes.
- The principal male character in a story, play, film, etc.
In classical mythology, a hero is defined as:
- A being of godlike prowess and beneficence who often came to be honored as a divinity.
- A warrior-chieftain of special strength, courage, or ability.
- An immortal being; demigod.
If you wanted to be comical about it, you could define a Hero Sandwich as a hero if you’re really hungry.
But there is another kind of hero that we rarely hear of. A hero that saves a country from despair, or in the end, put the country into despair. The latter is subjective and introspective to thought by the reader.
Heroes’ Day or National Heroes’ Day may refer to a number of commemorations of national heroes in different countries. It is often held on the birthday of a national hero or heroine, or the anniversary of their great deeds that made them heroes.
National Heroes’ Day is observed in eighteen countries.
National Heroes Day in Angola is a holiday in Angola on September 17, the birthday of the national hero Agostinho Neto.
National Heroes Day in the Bahamas has been a public holiday since 2013. It replaced Discovery Day, which celebrated the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas.
National Heroes’ Day is a public holiday in Barbados on April 28. There are ten official National Heroes of Barbados. These outstanding Barbadians are recognized as Heroes of the nation for their roles in positively changing Barbados life as we know it. Each year Barbadians honor these individuals on the national holiday; National Heroes Day.
Heroes’ Day is a public holiday in Cape Verde on 20 January. It commemorates the 1973 assassination of Amílcar Cabral, who is remembered as a hero for fighting western colonialism and exploitation.
The fourth Monday in January is National Heroes’ Day in the Cayman Islands; it was proclaimed with the National Heroes Law, providing for the declaration of persons who have rendered exceptional service as national heroes. Numerous Caymanians have been declared national heroes, includes the Hon. James (Jim) Manoah Bodden, Mrs. Sybil I. McLaughlin, Mr. Thomas William Farrington, Mrs. Sybil Joyce Hylton, Mr. Desmond Vere Watler, Ms Mary Evelyn Wood, Cert. Hon. and William Warren Conolly.
December 31 is National Heroes Day in East Timor. It commemorates the Indonesian invasion of East Timor.
A wreath on Hősök tere in 1940. Suppose you lived in a country that lost just about every war in the last five hundred years, most of which time it spent being occupied by bigger neighbors. On national holidays, you would still want to celebrate something, right? For Hungarians, the solution is to get together and celebrate the points in history when at least they tried. National Heroes’ Day or the Memorial Day of Hungarian Heroes in Hungary is celebrated on the May 31, as a public holiday. It is observed with military ceremonies at monuments such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Heroes’ Square in Budapest all to commemorate soldiers in service to Hungary. It has been marked every year by the Hungarian Defense Force and the public since 2001.
Hari Pahlawan (Indonesian for Heroes’ Day/Warriors’ Day) is a Remembrance Day annually celebrated on November 10, in Indonesia. The day commemorates the 1945 Battle of Surabaya, in which pro-independence Indonesian soldiers and militia fought against British and Dutch troops as part of the Indonesian National Revolution.
In Jamaica, Heroes’ Day is celebrated annually in October. It started in 1969. It was held in honor of the Jamaican stalwarts who had shed blood, sweat and tears to ensure that the people of the country would enjoy a life of freedom as now exists. The development was initiated by Edward Seaga, who later became Prime Minister of Jamaica, and other culturally-aware individuals who knew that Jamaicans needed to be more self-conscious and aware of who they were. The first named National Hero was Marcus Mosiah Garvey. “Look to the east for the coming of a black king,” Garvey historically proclaimed, and out of his advocacy came a whole new movement. Garvey died in Britain, but his remains were flown back to Jamaica and interred at the National Heroes’ Park by Seaga, who was very much aware of Garvey’s cultural significance.
Mashujaa Day, also known as Heroes’ Day – mashujaa is Swahili for heroes – is a national day in Kenya, which is observed on October 20, as a public holiday to collectively honor all those who contributed towards the struggle for Kenya’s independence or positively contributed in the post independence Kenya. It was previously known as Kenyatta Day, which was celebrated to commemorate the detention in Kapenguria of freedom fighters Achieng’ Oneko, Bildad Kaggia, Fred Kubai, Jomo Kenyatta, Kung’u Karumba and Paul Ngei, often referred to as the Kapenguria Six. However, following the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya in August 2010, Kenyatta Day was renamed.
Warriors’ Day (Malay: Hari Pahlawan) is a day in Malaysia that commemorates the servicemen killed during the two World Wars and the Malayan Emergency. By extension, it honours all individuals who lost their lives in the line of duty throughout Malaysia’s history. Until 2010, every year on July 31, the King and the Prime Minister as well as senior representatives of the Royal Malaysian Police and the Armed Forces gathered at the National Monument in Lake Gardens to lay wreaths and pay homage to Malaysia’s fallen heroes. They now gather at Merdeka Square, Kuala Lumpur, or in Kem Perdana in Sungai Besi, also in KL.
Heroes’ Day is a public holiday in Mozambique on February 3. In September 1964, growing unrest amongst many Mozambicans together with similar movements in other Portuguese territories led to the start of an armed guerrilla campaign against the Portuguese. The anticolonial struggle was led by Eduardo Mondlane of the Mozambique Liberation Front. Frelimo launched a guerrilla war against targets in northern Mozambique, claiming to have established its own administrative, educational, and economic networks in the northern districts. On February 3, 1969, a bomb was planted in a book sent to Mondlane at the FRELIMO Headquarters in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. When he opened the package, it exploded and killed him. Although nobody was ever charged with the killing, most historians believe that it was the work of the Portuguese government rather than political in-fighting within Frelimo. It is estimated that up to 10,000 Mozambiquans died in the conflict that lasted almost ten years, before a ceasefire with Portugal in 1974. Mozambique gained its independence the following year.
August 26, is Heroes’ Day in Namibia. It marks the beginning of the armed struggle during the Namibian War of Independence.
National Heroes’ Day is a national public holiday in the Philippines and is held on the last Monday of every August to mark the anniversary of the Cry of Pugad Lawin, the beginning of the Philippine Revolution by the Katipunan and its Supremo Andrés Bonifacio in 1896.
Heroes’ Day in Romania is celebrated on the 40th day from the Orthodox Easter. Not a public holiday; observed with military and religious festivities at the monuments dedicated to the national heroes – such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
National Heroes Day is a public holiday in Rwanda on February 1. It is an official holiday for the public and private sector in Rwanda each year. This holiday is an annual event to pay tribute to people who exemplified and defended the highest values of patriotism and sacrifice for the well being of the country and its citizens.
Saint Kitts and Nevis:
National Heroes Day is a holiday in Saint Kitts and Nevis that is observed annually on September 16. It honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the nation. There are currently five national heroes: Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw, Paul Southwell, Joseph Nathaniel France, Simeon Daniel and Kennedy Simmonds. The holiday was established in 1996 by the Saint Kitts and Nevis Federal Parliament with the passage of the National Honors Act. The first observance of the holiday was on September 16, 1998 to honor Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw, the first Premier of Saint Kitts and Nevis and a former labor activist. The holiday is observed on his birthday. In 2004, former Premier and Chief Minister Paul Southwell, and former Social Services Minister and trade unionist Joseph Nathaniel France, were also affirmed as National Heroes by the National Assembly. In 2013, the first Premier of Nevis, Simeon Daniel, was added to the list of National Heroes. In 2015, Kennedy Simmonds, the first Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, became the fifth person to be named as a National Hero. He is the first living person to receive this honor.
A former German colony, Namibia was governed by the white-led South African government from the 1920’s. From the start of the 1960s, there had been growing external and internal pressure for South Africa to give up control of the region, which it called South West Africa. The pressure exploded into warfare on August 26, 1966, at Omugulugwombashe, when liberation fighters first engaged with South African government forces. This signaled the start of the South African Border War, also known as the Namibian War of Independence. Over 11,000 Namibians would lose their lives in this struggle for independence which lasted for over 23 years until March 1990, when South West Africa received formal independence as the Republic of Namibia. The day was celebrated in the South African Republic and later in the Republic of South Africa.
National Heroes Day in Sri Lanka is celebrated every May 22. It has been celebrated since 1818. The Kandyan rebellion against British invasion in Sri Lanka. In 2013, the 195th commemoration of National Heroes Day of Sri Lanka was held by the sponsorship of the Sri Lankan Government.
Turks and Caicos Islands:
In the Turks and Caicos Islands, National Heroes’ Day takes place on the last Monday in May. It commemorates the life of James Alexander George Smith McCartney. This holiday commemorates the life of James Alexander George Smith McCartney. James Alexander George Smith (JAGS) McCartney was the island territory’s first Chief Minister from August 1976 until May 9, 1980, when he died in a plane crash over New Jersey, USA. This holiday for formerly known as Turks and Caicos Islands National Heroes’ Day.
Heroes’ Day in Uganda takes place every June 9. Following the overthrow of Idi Amin in 1979, Milton Obote was elected President of Uganda. The opposition party believed the election was rigged and this led to Yoweri Museveni forming the National Resistance Army (NRA). On June 9, 1981, at the start of the Ugandan Bush War, Edidian Mukiibi Luttamaguzi was killed by the Uganda National Liberation Army for refusing to reveal the hiding place of Museveni and the soldiers of the NRA. If Luttamaguzi had not made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the soldiers, the ensuing guerrilla war that brought the National Resistance Movement to power in 1985 could have ended in defeat. The war ended with victory for the NRA on January 25, 1986, with Yoweri Museveni becoming President in 1986, a position he holds to this day. In 2001, an act was passed in the Parliament of Uganda which recognized June 9 as Heroes’ Day in remembrance of those who contributed to the liberation struggle that ushered in the National Resistance Movement government on January 26, 1986.
The United Kingdom first celebrated a National Heroes Day in 2011, on October 21, – the same day as the victory at Battle of Trafalgar. It was founded by Danny Glavin, a teacher from Fareham, Hampshire. After hearing about the tragic death of his childhood friend whilst serving in Afghanistan, he decided to fund-raise for a military charity in his memory. The day was endorsed by Prime Minister David Cameron. Now Glavin has founded The Inspiration Federation and coordinates the Heroes Day Educational Program within schools across the United Kingdom.
Freedom Statue in Lusaka, honoring the heroes of Zambian independence. Heroes’ Day in Zambia is a public holiday in a cluster of four days of holidays observed over the first weekend in July. The other holidays are the Zambia International Trade Fair and Unity Day, celebrating a country with six main languages. Heroes Day is a memorial day for those who perished during the independence struggles.
Heroes’ Day in Zimbabwe is a public holiday observed on August 12, each year. This is a day to remember those who died during the liberation war or those who were declared National Heroes when they died and are buried at the National shrine, The National Heroes Acre in Harare. There are also 10 Provincial Heroes Acres where those who have not been accorded the highest honor but are recognized for the role they played during the Liberation War and are buried in the Provinces they would have come from.