The nation celebrated the 45th Independence and National Day on Thursday with a fresh vow to build a secular, democratic and prosperous Bangladesh free from militancy and terrorism.
Thousands of people from all walks of life thronged the National Mausoleum, Savar paying their glowing tributes by placing wreaths to the martyrs who laid down their lives to free the Bangalees from the repressive and autocratic Pakistani rule in 1971.
On this day in 1971, the unarmed valiant Bangalees of the then East Pakistan burst into flame to resist the Pakistani occupation forces who unleashed the worst genocide in the world's history to suppress them.
The peace-loving people took up arms as their paramount leader, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, declared independence on March 26. After the nine-month war with the supreme sacrifice of three million people and the loss of chastity of 0.2 million women, Bangladesh gained independence on December 16, 1971.
On the occasion, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led the nation paying homage to the war heroes by placing wreaths at the National Mausoleum.
The President and the Prime Minister laid wreaths at the altar of the National Mausoleum around 6 am paying rich tributes to the bravest sons of the soil who embraced martyrdom during the nine-month blood-spattered war against Pakistani occupation forces.
After placing the wreaths, the President and the Prime Minister stood there in solemn silence for some time as a mark of respect to the memories of the martyrs of the great Liberation War for their supreme sacrifice.
A smartly turned out contingent drawn from Bangladesh Army, Navy and Air Force presented state salute on the occasion as the bugle played the last post.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina along with senior leaders of Bangladesh Awami League (AL) also placed wreaths at the National Memorial on behalf of her party.
The Chief Justice, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Deputy Leader of the Parliament, ministers, advisers to the Prime Minister, state ministers, the chiefs of the three services, diplomats, high civil and military officials, freedom fighters, other dignitaries and senior leaders of Awami League were present.
Later, President Abdul Hamid signed the visitor's book at the memorial premises.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also paid tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing wreaths at his portrait in front of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi.
Sheikh Hasina first laid a wreath at the portrait of Bangabandhu as the Prime Minister and stood there in solemn silence for some time as a mark of respect to the memory of Bangabandhu, the architect of independence.
Flanked by her party central leaders, Sheikh Hasina, also the President of Bangladesh Awami League, laid another wreath at the portrait of Bangabandhu on behalf of her party.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina attended a rally of children and juveniles at Bangabandhu National Stadium in the morning. She also released a commemorative postage stamp at her official residence Ganobhaban marking the 45th Independence and National Day.
Addressing the children and juvenile rally arranged by the Dhaka district administration on the occasion of the 45th Independence and National Day, the Prime Minister said those involved in militant acts will never be forgiven.
She urged all to say 'no' to militancy and terrorism as the country's people do not want fighting, killing, arson and militancy.
Meanwhile, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia did not appear at the National Mausoleum at Savar to pay homage to the martyred war heroes marking the Independence Day as she skipped Central Shaheed Minar on the occasion of 'Amar Ekushey'.
However, some BNP leaders and activists, led by its standing committee members Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahamn and Abdul Moyeen Khan, placed wreaths at the National Mausoleum around 8am on behalf of the party.
Meanwhile, President Abdul Hamid and his wife Rashida Khanom hosted a reception at Bangabhaban marking the Independence and National Day.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joined the reception held at the lawn of the President's House.
Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Raushon Ershad, the Chief Justice, Cabinet Members, Deputy Speaker, Advisers to the Prime Minister, State Ministers, Supreme Court Judges, Election Commissioners, Cabinet Secretary, the chiefs of the three services, Members of Parliament, senior political leaders, editors, senior civil and military officers, academics, diplomats, senior lawyers, business community leaders, artistes and distinguished citizens, valiant freedom fighters and family members of Birshreshtha gallantry awards attended the function.
No BNP leader was seen at the programme though its 21 top leaders were invited to the reception.
President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia issued separate messages greeting the countrymen on the occasion.
The day was a public holiday.
The government, different political parties, socio-cultural organisations and professional bodies held various programmes to mark the day.
The national flag was hoisted atop government and private buildings while the government and semi-government buildings and other public places were illuminated on the auspicious occasion.
Special prayers were offered at mosques, temples, churches and pagodas, seeking divine blessings for the departed souls of the martyrs as well as peace, stability and progress of the country.