President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid rich tributes to the Language Movement heroes in the first minute of the day.
On behalf of President Abdul Hamid, his military secretary Maj Gen SM Salahuddin Islam placed a floral wreath at the Central Shaheed Minar.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's military secretary Maj Gen Naquib Ahmed Chowdhury placed a floral wreath on behalf of her.
Senior Awami League leaders, including General Secretary Obaidul Quader, presidium members Matia Chowdhury and Lt Col (Rtd) Faruk Khan, Joint Secretary Hasan Mahmud, and Cultural Affairs Secretary Asim Kumar Ukil, also paid tributes on behalf of Sheikh Hasina as she is the president of the party.
Sergeant at Arms Commodore Miah Mohammad Nayeem Rahman placed a wreath on behalf of Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury.
Also, chiefs of the armed forces, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, Inspector General of Police Benazir Ahmed, Jatiya Party Chairman and leader of the opposition GM Quader, Education Minister Dipu Moni, Bangladesh Ansar and Village Defense Party Director General Maj Gen Mizanur Rahman Shameem, Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, ambassadors and high commissioners of different countries and chiefs of international agencies, members of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Birth Centenary Celebration National Implementation Committee, members of Dhaka University Alumni Association, Attorney General AM Amin Uddin, wounded Freedom Fighters of Muktijoddha Kalyan Trust, DU Vice-Chancellor Prof Akhtaruzzaman, and Dhaka Divisional Commissioner Khalilur Rahman on behalf of Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam placed floral wreaths.
Barefoot and wearing black badges, they placed the wreaths at Central Shaheed Minar stood in silence in remembrance of those who embraced martyrdom to make Bangla the state language in 1952 as the tune "Amar Bhaier Rokte Rangano Ekushey February" reverberated the air.
The day is observed worldwide as the International Mother Language Day. In 1999, the Unesco declared February 21 as the International Mother Language Day.
On February 21, 1952, students and people from all walks of life took to the streets in Dhaka to protest the then Pakistan government's refusal to recognise Bangla as one of the state languages and the imposition of Urdu as the only official language of Pakistan.
Among those who got killed were Salam, Barkat, Rafique, Jabbar and Shafiur.