Drass: The sound of the last post in memory of Kargil heroes on Sunday reverberated from the Capital to the erstwhile battle zones of Ladakh, where families of many of the slain soldiers gathered for the first time in 10 years, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led the nation in paying victory day tributes, also a first for the United Progressive Alliance government.
“After the demise of my son it is the only happy day of my life. I am thankful that my son is finally recognized and remembered,” said S.P. Kalia, father of Lt Saurabh Kalia who was among the first casualties of the Kargil conflict and was captured and brutally tortured by the Pakistani forces. Kalia is in Drass and so are proud families of slain soldiers, who had an emotional reunion as they gathered at the invitation of the Armed Forces to attend the 10th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas.
While wreaths were laid at the War Memorial amid a flypast by Mig 21 Bison aircraft and showering of petals by Chetak helicopters, the relatives got an account of the bravery of their loved ones from the personnel of the forces, colleagues and friends. In New Delhi, a contingent of tri-services guards presented the salute and buglers sounded the last post as Singh laid a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti. A two-minute silence was observed for those killed in the 60-day war. “I join the entire nation in paying homage to the martyrs of the Kargil war. They sacrificed their lives in defence of Indian unity and integrity,” Singh wrote in the visitors’ book