Photo taken on Dec. 25, 2018 shows the interior of the Sadat Museum in Mit Abu al-Kum, Monufia, Egypt. Egypt commemorated on Tuesday the 100th birthday of late President Anwar al-Sadat, always known for his contributions to the peace progress in the Middle East. In his birthplace, Mit Abu al-Kum, some 75 km far from the capital, people gathered around his house which had been turned into a museum to commemorate the birth date of their leader. (Xinhua/Wu Huiwo)
by Marwa Yahya
MONUFIA, EGYPT, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- Egypt commemorated on Tuesday the 100th birthday of late President Anwar al-Sadat, always known for his contributions to the peace progress in the Middle East.
In his birthplace, Mit Abu al-Kum, some 75 km far from the capital, the village people gathered around his house which had been turned into a museum to commemorate the birth date of their leader.
"President Sadat is a symbol of peace for the whole Arab nation," said Soliman Shenawy, an agricultural engineer in the village.
"We feel proud and honor to live here, where President Sadat once lived, took historical decisions, and met with the world top leaders," Shenawy told Xinhua.
He still remembers when Sadat shook his hands while heading to the mosque. "The president was very humble, and helped the farmers re-establish their houses with his own money."
The late president's birthday was celebrated by the villagers, the governor of Monufia along with other officials, and army men, inside the 200-square-meter museum.
The house where the museum is located was built in 1962 when Sadat was chairman of the parliament. It was attached to a villa and vast gardens.
The museum contains the late president's army uniform, the suit he wore when he delivered his famous speech in the Knesset (parliament) in Israel, books, shoes, and photos with world leaders.
The museum that was established in 2006 is visited by around 10,000 people annually, said Attiya Atef, manager of the museum, adding it also opens for students who study the history of Sadat.
"President Sadat is a historical model for my generation," said Nadia Faramay, who has visited the museum from time to time.
While writing on the guest book, she said she used to pass by Sadat's house, and once saw some world leaders walking with the president.
"For his modesty, Sadat was an ordinary man who served his country, not a president people fear to talk with," Faramawy added.
She expressed her joy when the museum was opened to watch the president's possessions closely.
"I felt proud when U.S. President Donald Trump has signed a law to honor former President Sadat on the 100th anniversary of his birth," the lady passionately said.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate passed a bill in August to honor Sadat's effort in maintaining peace in the Middle East.
The Egyptian embassy in Washington said in a press statement that the bill is "in recognition of his (Sadat's) heroic achievements and courageous contributions to peace in the Middle East."
Sadat is the first Arab president to ever be honored with such an award from the U.S. Congress. Besides, a gold medal was also given to his wife Gihan Sadat in recognition of her efforts to help maintain peace in the region.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi also hailed on Tuesday the "bravery and vision" of Sadat in creating peace in the region.
Sisi said that the 1973 war with Israel restored dignity for the Egyptian and Arab people, and paved the way for Sadat to make peace.
"The October War paved the way for President Anwar al-Sadat to carry out the most promising initiatives of the modern era," Sisi said.
In 1978, Egypt and Israel signed at the White House the Camp David peace accords that ended a prolonged hostility between the two countries.
The war eventually led to Israeli forces withdrawing from the Sinai Peninsula in 1982 after 15 years of occupation.
"Sadat's message was clear that Egypt does not accept injustice or humiliation," Sisi reiterated, adding that Egypt seeks a just peace, development and prosperity for its people, its region and the world.
The celebrations of Sadat's birthday were also seen in the capital through many activities.
On Sunday, singers in the Opera House performed some of the most famous national songs in Sadat's era including those depicting the state of the soldiers during war, which earned huge applause from the audience.
On Monday, a special conference was held at the Supreme Council of Culture entitled with "Sadat: the hero of war and peace," which discussed Sadat's mindset towards ending the war, as well as his policies the country went through.
Sadat was the third president of Egypt, serving since Oct. 15, 1970 until his assassination by Islamist fundamentalists on Oct. 6, 1981.
In 1918, Sadat was born in an poor upper Egypt-origin family which would not know their name will be carved in Egypt's recent history by the hands of their son, Anwar, who became the first Egyptian ever to be awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize.
Sadat later joined the Royal Military Academy in Cairo and graduated to become a second lieutenant in the army.
After President Gamal Abdel Nasser died from a heart attack, Sadat became president in 1970.
Among Egyptians' severe criticism, Sadat's peace life goal kept urging him to become the first Arab president to acknowledge the existence of Israel as a country, through visiting it in 1977 to discuss with the Israeli Knesset how comprehensive peace can be achieved in the region.
"I made my trip because I am convinced that we owe it to this generation and the generations to come, not to leave a stone unturned in our pursuit of peace," Sadat said.