Defense Minister inaugurated a monument to combatants in Alte

The sculpture is by Daniel Vieira and Renata Pawelec

A monument to the combatants was inaugurated this Tuesday, September 8th, in Alte, with the presence of João Gomes Cravinho, Minister of National Defense, and Catarina Sarmento e Castro, Secretary of State for Human Resources and Former Combatants. 

The sculpture, by Daniel Vieira and Renata Pawelec, is distinguished by its various symbolic elements that refer to the experiences of combatants.

Thus, the Algarve table represents the family that, as the chairman of the Board António Martins explained, “is diminished in its functionality and stability because it lacks a leg, just like the family with the absence of the combatant”.

Another of the elements of the work is a clock, broken and without hands, which refers to the commission time, a time that drags on and that sharpens nostalgia and increases the pain of separation. The absence of the number 11 on the dial recalls the 11 young people from Altense who died overseas.



There is also the helmet on the table that represents the return, the mission accomplished and the return to the family. In turn, the bullet hole in the helmet recalls the lives taken by war.

Vítor Aleixo, President of the Municipality of Loulé, recalled the men of this land who left for the battlefield and who now have the right tribute in a work that "makes a strong appeal for peace, serenity and conscience".

«In the wars in Africa, 11 combatants from Alte died» and, in World War I, «123 young people from this parish were mobilized. Mostly peasants, they left for Angola, Mozambique and Flanders. They fought heroically, some died, and others returned with physical and psychological sequelae that accompanied them until the end of their days», contextualized the mayor.

The Minister of National Defense underlined the importance of initiatives to pay tribute to former combatants, because "honoring their memories is an essential gesture for a society that wants to respect itself."

«Recognizing the former combatants, those who died in combat and those who are among us today, is a debt that the Portugal of the present owes to the Portugal of the past and the recognition of this debt is a key to building a country we want for the future,” he said.



With roots in Alte, João Gomes Cravinho did not want to stop talking about the personal dimension of the moment, because some of his family members are part of the honorees, as is the case of António Gomes Cravinho, one of the 123 from Altenses who left to fight in Flanders, in 1917,

"There are hundreds of thousands of Portuguese families that carry within them this experience that is both historical and profoundly personal", underlined the Minister.

For the president of the League of Combatants Chito Rodrigues, «Alte joins today the recognition that the deep Portugal has been doing in recent years. Tombstones, patterns and around 400 monuments erected with the same purpose and the same feeling are spread throughout the country and abroad, witnessing respect, publicly marking appreciation, engraving in stone and iron so that you do not forget the perenniality of gratitude and from the memory of those who fought and fell for Portugal».

This responsible also left a word of gratitude to the Autarchy of Loulé, as an ally of the institution, through the support given to the Nucleus of Loulé.

Under the existing contract-program, the City of Loulé this year allocated to the League an amount of around 18 euros, channeled towards various actions aimed at helping former combatants and their families.