Myanmar commemorates fallen national heroes on Martyrs' Day

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi attends an event marking the 70th anniversary of Martyrs' Day in Yangon, Myanmar on July 19, 2017.
Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi attends an event marking the 70th anniversary of Martyrs' Day in Yangon, Myanmar on July 19, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

YANGON - Myanmar held a state ceremony on Wednesday (July 19) to mark the country's 70th Martyrs' Day to commemorate fallen national heroes including General Aung San and eight others who were assassinated in 1947.

General Aung San, the founder of Myanmar's armed forces, led the fight for Burmese independence from British colonial rule. He died at the age of 32 just months before the country gained independence on Jan 4, 1948.

Myanmar's national flag was flown half-mast across the country on Wednesday to mark the event.

First Vice President U Myint Swe paid tribute at the tombs of the martyrs in commemoration of the Martyrs' Day at the Martyrs' Mausoleum.

State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of General Aung San, laid wreathes at the tombs.

A siren was sounded by Myanmar Radio and Television at 10:37 a.m. local time to observe the time of the assassination of the martyrs, reported Xinhua news agency.

Following the official ceremony, the martyrs' mausoleum was open to the public for paying tribute.

General Aung San, along with his bodyguard and seven councillor members, were gunned down by a political rival in one of the rooms at The Secretariat building on July 19, 1947.

The building, which has undergone renovations, will open to the public for three days starting Wednesday, reported Myanmar Times.

Visitors will get a glimpse of the Cabinet Meeting Room in The Secretariat's west wing where the martyrs were assassinated.

Following the military coup in 1962, public access to the Yangon Secretariat was severely restricted and the structure was re-branded the Ministers' Office. It was used to house government offices up until the military junta announced the founding of a new capital, Naypyitaw, in 2005-after which it was abandoned.