- CNS Admiral Karambir Singh presents a replica of INS Kolkata
New Delhi. 23 February 2020. “Our flags do not fly because the wind moves it, it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it,” quoted Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh. “Memorials such as this also serve the purpose of providing a focus for our people to reflect on the patriotism and spirit of sacrifice of our brave officers and men from all the three services. It is our sacred duty to ensure that the names of the heroes and their memory are not lost & dulled with the passage of time. I am sure that Noida Shaheed Smarak and others monuments like this will go a long way in inculcating the spirit of self-sacrifice amongst the citizens of our country.” He was addressing a gathering of veterans and serving officers at the wreath laying ceremony of NOIDA Martyr Memorial.
The Vision of raising a suitable war memorial to honour all Defence Services personnel of NOIDA, who had been killed in action defending their Motherland since 1947, was conceived by late Lt Gen KB Mehta (Retd), erstwhile Central Army Commander, in Sep 1998 who formed a society, the NOIDA Shaheed Smarak Sanstha (NSSS) and registered it under the Societies Registration Act. The ground opposite the Army Public School (APS), NOIDA, was selected, in consultation with Army Headquarters. NOIDA Authority accorded their approval and permitted the Sanstha to construct the memorial on their land. The Income Tax Authority sanctioned tax exemption under Section 80G for donations made to the project. From Sep 2001 the drive picked up momentum. The Sanstha managed to raise reasonable funds from civil sources, business companies, active formations, units and individuals.
CNS added, “to the younger generation present here, I would like to say that you are a symbol of free India and the future of this nation. Freedom is a precious gift that you must treat with great reverence, respect and a sense of responsibility. This memorial must forever remind us that many young lives enshrined in this memorial are the reason why we are safe and secure. It is said, “Those who die in defence of the country gave up two lives – the one they were living and the one they would have lived. They gave up everything for their country for us”.
The Floriculture Society of NOIDA, under the directions of a renowned horticulturist, GB Pant, undertook development of arboriculture in the Smarak park. A renowned builder, Wig Brothers, agreed to carry out all construction work at 50 per cent of the cost. The NOIDA Authority not only permitted the Sanstha to construct the memorial on their land, but also agreed to provide financial and maintenance support. GOC-in-C, Western Command and GOC Delhi Area supported the cause and instructed APS NOIDA to provide maximum assistance.
Admiral Singh addressing the families of the officers and men present said, “I once again wish to assure the families of the martyrs present here that the supreme sacrifice made by their loved and dear ones is valued, cherished and remembered by the whole nation. You raised the bravest of the country and being a parent of an Armed forces personnel is not easy. The nation shall always be indebted to you.”
The Smarak has now become an iconic landmark of NOIDA that no visitor can miss. It is located on the Shaheed Smarak Marg where vintage AD guns (40mm, L60) are installed astride the entrance. Naval surface-to-air missiles have been positioned in the south eastern end of the park. The IAF has installed a jet trainer, the ISKRA (of Polish origin), in the south western corner. The Navy Chief presented a replica of INS Calcutta to Noida Shaheed Smarak which has been installed in the memorial at a vantage point, making it a truly Tri-Service Memorial.