The ultimate measure of a soldier is to stand firm when it counts most. And no moment can count more than when a man in uniform pays the ultimate price and defends the realm with his life. With guts. With honour. With glory. For the flag. For the republic. For freedom. For peace.
They left the comfort of their homes and the love of family for the hardship of the barracks.
They bade farewell to their loved ones, hoping that it would only be a matter of time before they come back home to those for whom their hearts beat.
Instead of a familiar knock on the door, wives have been left with an unfamiliar loneliness; their dreams shattered forever. Sons have within them an incomprehensible longing for fathers whose absence can only be explained by an eternal memorial of brass boots, a rifle and a helmet located at Moi Barracks Eldoret.
On it, brass strips with names of the departed. A fitting statue for our gallant soldiers. This was not in the script when, oozing patriotism, different companies within the Kenya Defence Forces took oath to serve and protect so that you and I can live free.
It was a dangerous, yet necessary choice, which they made on behalf of the rest of the nation. Their mission? To keep Kenya safe by stabilising Somalia. And then El Adde happened. Exactly one month ago tomorrow morning. To the generals, the bloody January 15, 2016 attack was a setback in the push to stabilise Somalia; a push to secure Kenya.
To the families of the fallen, the day is synonymous with death. To Kenyans it is everything between grief and fear. The civilised world grieves with Kenya.