Two celebrations were held on Thursday in Romania: the Ascension of Jesus and Heroes Day
For almost a century, Heroes Day has been celebrated in Romania on
the same day as the Ascension of Jesus, the moment when, according to Bible
teachings, 40 days after Resurrection, he ascended to heaven from the Mount of
Olives in Jerusalem.
The secular celebration of the nation's heroes was established in
1920, after WWI, when all provinces with majority ethnic Romanian populations
became united under Bucharest's control. Hundreds of thousands of Romanian
soldiers died for the unification of the nation and their sacrifice has since
been commemorated by this national holiday.
It was also in 1920 that Romania became the first country to
commemorate, on the same day, both its own heroes and the foreign soldiers who
died on its territory. All Romanian churches in Romania and abroad, both
Orthodox and Greek Catholic, held special services on Thursday in memory of
everyone killed in battle throughout centuries.
Hundreds of residents in the small town of Toplita, in the centre,
paid their respects at the local memorial built in memory of WWI heroes. The
Orthodox bishop of Covasna and Harghita, Andrei Moldovan.
Andrei Moldovan: "These brave heroes
of the Romanian nation, who have sacrificed their lives on battlefields to
defend ancient Ardeal, were laid to rest by Patriarch Miron Cristea at the
entrance to Toplita. The heroes, for us, are the foundation of the Romanian
A school child who attended the event, said:
Child: "Today is a very emotional day
for us because this is where our ancestors are buried, who spilled their blood
for us and our freedom."
Buzau, in the southeast, hosted the inauguration of a military
cemetery where almost 10,000 soldiers from many different countries are
interred. The opening ceremony, which also formed part of the Great Union
Centennial celebrations, was attended by Romanian officials, ambassadors and
military attaches from allied and partner states.
An Israelite cemetery in Bucharest held a religious service in
memory of the ethnic Jews killed in the battle for the unification of Romania.
The neighbouring Republic of Moldova, an ex-Soviet state with a majority
Romanian-speaking population, inaugurated the Cemetery of Honour of the
Romanian Soldiers in the village of Tabara, near Orhei.
The president's office, the government and the defence ministry
issued statements in which they expressed their respect for those who, through
their ultimate sacrifice, defended the freedom, integrity and dignity of the
Romanian country and its people. On the anniversary of 100 years since the
fulfilment of the national dream, said president Klaus Iohannis, we should more
than ever remember the deeds of those who came before us and take stock of what
has been achieved in the years since the Great Union.