04th February 2017 11:23:13 Hours
Mother Sri Lanka entered a new era of peace and prosperity on Saturday (4), commemorating her 69th National Independence Day under the theme, ‘National Unity’ in a simple, yet dignified ceremony at the Galle Face Green which also heralded the commitment for eradication of poverty and the prospects for economic stability, reconciliation and harmony.
The apex of the this year’s main ceremony, headed by HE the President Maithripala Sirisena, mirrored the determined commitment of all Sri Lankans, Members of the Tri-services, Police and the Civil Security Department for revitalization of Sri Lanka’s national growth and restoration of the past glory and grandeur.
Glittering National Flags and military parades saluted President and the Nation during 69th Independence Day ceremonies at Colombo, giving pride of place to the military parade of the Tri-Services, Police and the Civil Security Department.
The annual national spectacle, held in the capital of Sri Lanka was dignified by the presence of HE the President Maithripala Sirisena and the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, accompanied by the Former President, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga, Speaker of Parliament, Chief Justice, Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Chief Minister for Western Province, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Secretaries of Ministries, Chief of Defence Staff, Army, Navy and Air Force Commanders, Inspector General of the Police, Director General, Civil Security Department, Diplomats and a host of other distinguished invitees, including members of the clergy of all major denominations.
This year’s anniversary celebration theme, ‘National Unity’, leaves a landmark in the country’s post-war phase of development and reconciliation, poverty alleviation and co-existence as the country is on the path of speedy recovery after bitter experiences she suffered before May 2009.
Today’s ceremony commenced with the arrival of HE, the President to be received warmly by Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs. His arrival at the venue, accompanied by mounted Policemen and Tri-service Military Police outriders in a colourful pageant, was symbolized by blowing of trumpets.
Seconds after that, the Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army, Commander of the Navy, Commander of the Air Force and the Inspector General of Police conducted HE, the President to the main flag post where he was invited to hoist the National Flag, amidst rhythmic beating of Magul Bera (auspicious drums) and blowing of conch shells as 110 students from eleven girls’ schools in the province, recited the national anthem, filling all patriotic hearts with pride and grandeur.
Afterwards, HE the President from the special dais received the blessings of the recital of Jayamangala Gathas and Devo Vassatu Kalena stanzas, presented by a bevy of 25 girls, belonging to three girls’ schools in the Colombo area. It was followed by observance of a two-minute silence in memory of all the patriots and tri-service War Heroes who laid their lives for the noble cause of defending the Nation.
The next phase of the day’s agenda was the colourful and magnificent tri-service Guard of Honour, accorded to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, followed by the customary 21-Gun Salute.
Next, was the time for the much-awaited President’s address to the Nation, in which he called upon all Sri Lankans, irrespective of petty differences, to rise to the occasion and jointly help overcome all the challenges on our road to recovery and prosperity. HE also expressed his heartfelt gratitude to everyone who sacrificed in achieving the freedom we enjoy today.
Soon after his address, the smart parade comprised of tri-service Officers and Other ranks, Police and Civil Security Department personnel, including National Cadet Corps (NCC), dressed in their respective ceremonials was reported by the Parade Commander to the Chief Guest who took the Salute in accordance with military traditions.
Thousands of troops, attired in their ceremonial attire afterwards began their march-past, according their salute to His Excellency, the President, the Chief Guest on the occasion.
Rhythmic cultural troupes, made up of well-known artistes, school students and others from provincial levels added variety and magnificence to the parade as the day’s programme drew to a close.
Religious dignitaries of all denominations and a massive crowd of spectators witnessed the National Independence Day proceedings in Colombo.
More than two thousand artistes representing Colombo and all other districts in the country, in addition to some five thousand tri-service, Police and Civil Security Department personnel took part in the parade.
Sharp at 12 noon today (4), the Navy were to honour the Nation with another round of 25-Gun Salute at Light House, Chaithya Road, Colombo.