A procession moves through the streets of Yangon today to the Martyr's Mausoleum at Shwedagon Pagoda (Photo by Thomas Toe)
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi today marked the 65th anniversary of the assassination of her father, national hero Aung San, during the country’s Martyr’s Day ceremony. Suu Kyi laid a floral wreath on the tomb of her father at the Martyr’s Mausoleum at Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon and was joined there by Vice President Sai Mauk Kham, the first time in decades that a state official has participated. The ceremony was also broadcast on state-run television, a further indication for many of ongoing reforms in the country’s nominally civilian government. Martyr’s Day marks the anniversary of the killing of Myanmar’s independence hero Aung San and other representatives of the country’s interim government in 1947 on the eve of independence from Britain. Myanmar achieved independence on January 8, 1948, several months after Aung San’s death. Suu Kyi later addressed a crowd of an estimated 10,000 people at the party headquarters of the National League for Democracy. There she said a martyr “possesses a noble mind” and is not tied to any single generation. "[A martyr] is ready to sacrifice his life for his people,” she said. She added: “A martyr is ready to admit his mistakes and always ready to amend them.” Than Kyi, 48, a resident of Yangon who joined thousands of others in a procession to the Martyr’s Mausoleum, said she was happy to participate in this year’s commemoration without fear or restrictions. Htwe Maung, 52, who was in Yangon today for business, said the anniversary should be remembered year-round. “The Martyr’s Mausoleum belongs to the public. It should be open daily for the public to honor and give respect to the martyrs who gave their lives for their country and who are our independence leaders.” He added that the younger generation needed to know more about the anniversary and about why the martyrs were killed.