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1981: 'Still mourning President Sadat'
Anwar Sadat was the first leader in the Arab world to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

Two years after this historic achievement he was shot by Khaled al-Islambuli, a member of the Egyptian group Islamic Jihad, during an all-out attack at a military parade.

Thousands saw their leader assassinated before their eyes and later millions more watched the shooting broadcast around the globe on television.

His grandson, Ashraf Affifi, was there at the parade. Here, he remembers the last time he saw his grandfather alive.

I went to watch the military parade that used to take place every year to celebrate the 1973 war victory.

I went to the parade with a friend of mine and my mum sat at home to watch it and she decided to tape it on my grandfather's instruction.

The parade started and everything was fine.

I sat towards the back of the arena so I was about 20 rows behind my grandfather and the tanks started parading.

At the same time there was an air show so everybody was looking up and before we knew it there were shots everywhere and a bomb went off which shattered the glass door behind where I was sitting.

I can never forget this day - I remember it with sadness and fondness. Sadness because he was betrayed by his generals and his army and fondness because of the visionary he was.
Ashraf Affifi
My first reaction was to get up and run which I did as I didn't realise that my grandfather was shot.

I ran deep into the desert area behind the arena and eventually found my friend and my driver who said to me that the president has been shot and they had airlifted him to hospital.

I was so shocked and went home to see my mum who was watching it on TV.

I went in and she was in tears and I said that he will be fine and that he was taken to hospital.

My mum insisted on going to my grandfather's house to find out some news. We went to his house sat down and waited for news and two hours later his PA came into the room, looked at my mum and collapsed in tears.

We knew then that he passed away.

I can never forget this day - I remember it with sadness and fondness.

Sadness because he was betrayed by his generals and his army and fondness because of the visionary he was.

Sadat and Begin had the vision and the foresight to sign a peace treaty that put an end to wars between the two countries.

I salute them both on this day. The world at large lacks the vision and the foresight that could save so many lives and ensure peace for all of us.

I especially salute my grandfather, the late President Sadat, who under very difficult circumstances was brave enough to make the peace that cost him his life and deprived me of a very dear grandfather.


Your memories

I was 10 years old at that time and I was among thousands attending this parade.

I saw our late president being carried to a helicopter and he was bleeding badly. We were all sure he was dead.

I felt very bad and I still can not imagine how we (the Egyptians) managed to kill the only true leader we had in our modern history. God bless his soul.
Ahmed, Egypt

I remember the day well. I was a university student in Rome, Italy, at the time.

I'd just come back from lunch in our school cafeteria and heard the news on radio.

Dormitory mates were hanging out it the hallway saying Sadat had been shot. I remember that it seemed an amazing trifecta for 1981.

First Reagan was shot in March, then the Pope in May, and now Sadat.

Sadat's death elevated the three events into the stuff that gives a person a sense of history. It's something I've never forgotten.
Robert Dahlke, USA (based in Nigeria)

Sadat was something of a national hero in the US.

I remember people crying when we heard of his assassination.

I was in school at the time working on a project about the country of Egypt.

I had written a letter to Sadat asking for an autographed picture. I received it in the mail a couple months after he died.

The postmark was 6 October 1981.

I've always wondered if he actually signed it on the day he died.
Bill, USA

I was finishing my plans to move to Greece when news of Sadat's assassination reached me.

My mother who was then living in Greece, had planned that we would spend the Christmas holidays in Egypt.

After much discussion we elected to continue our plans, and spent Christmas touring Egypt.

There was a constant military presence wherever we went, and while most people were very subdued they were unfailingly polite to us.

A student at the Greek school where we worked had also been in the stands on the day of the assassination but was not injured.

Not surprisingly, he was very shaken for quite a while afterwards.
Lisa, USA

Sadat was a great man. He was cunning, smart and wise. He was a man of peace and for peace. Egypt and the world lost a great deal with his loss.

He had the courage of doing what no one could do at the time, and what everyone is trying to do now.
Aristo, USA

I was in high school when President Sadat was killed.

Personally I think he was a great man. Had he lived I believe Israel and Palestine would be living in peace by now.

There is still a void in leadership among the Arab nations.

We are still mourning President Sadat's loss today.
Gene, USA

Watching the TV and seeing what had happened I cried.

As a 16-year-old then it now seems kind of odd that I would have felt such sorrow for someone from so far away who I had limited knowledge except mostly that he was a man of peace not war.
Dennis, USA

Twenty years ago I was saddened and could not understand why the assassination took place. But now I look at Sadat as someone who was more concerned with his image in the Western world than within his country.
Arzmi Yaacob, Malaysia

President Sadat with his decesion towards some arab countries confirmed that he read the history well. Where are they now? God bless president Sadat.
Rabee Saad, Egypt

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President Anwar Sadat - 1971
Anwar Sadat: Remembered as 'a man of peace and for peace'


President Sadat (l) President Carter (c) Prime Minister Begin (r) - 1979
President Sadat was the first leader to sign a treaty with Israel

Ashraf Affifi
Ashraf Affifi has fond memories of his 'brave' grandfather


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