This commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the killing of 10 Belgian paratroopers that were on UN peace keeping duties in Rwanda formed the central plank of this year’s ceremony. The soldiers were at the start of the genocide in which more than a million Rwandans were murdered. The names of all 252 Belgian servicemen killed in action since 1945 were read out during the ceremony.
King Filip laid a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier before a minute’s silence was observed. The monarch then spoke to the families of the servicemen before they too were given the opportunity to lay their floral tributes to their loved ones. There were floral tributes too from a number of patriotic organisations.
The Second Commando Battalion from Flawinne, part of the Special Operations Regiment that was set up last year, attended the ceremony.
The Belgian “Veterans Day” on 7 April was observed for the first time in 1998 and came about as direct result of the killing of the Belgian paratroopers in Rwanda.
300 attend Rwandan remembrance ceremony
Meanwhile, members of the Rwandan community in Belgium remembered the anniversary of the start of the genocide in their home country.
They did so in the Brussels municipality of Sint-Pieters-Woluwe. According to the organisers around 300 people attended, including the Mayor of Sint-Pieters-Woluwe Benoît Cerexhe and the Rwandan Ambassador Amandin Rugira.