12th May 2018 11:15:04 Hours
Valour and gallantry of the Tri-service War Heroes and the Police on Friday (11) evening to coincide with the Ranaviru Commemorative Month received a deep reverence in Ethugalpura during a solemn ceremony with the opening of the newly-constructed War Heroes monument, ‘Wayamba Rana Abhiman’ memorial.
HE the President Maithripala Sirisena, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, together with Chief of Defence Staff, Army and Navy Commanders at the invitation of the Ranaviru Seva Authority were present at the venue.
HE the President Sirisena and all attendees at first respected the national anthem followed by observance of one-minute silence in memory of all fallen War Heroes.
Religious observances of all denominations afterwards got underway prior to the rhythmic beats of traditional Rana Bera, Hevisi, Purappattu, Magul Bera, Geta Bera, etc, reverberating bravery and courage of those who defended the motherland. It also symbolized a tribute paid in memory of them as was the cause during the times of our ancient kings.
Seconds after that, President Sirisena in the company of Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunawardena, Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Sirimewan Ranasinghe and Air Force and Police representatives, walked up to the War Memorial and laid floral wreaths, in remembrance of all War Heroes of our times. It was a moment filled with grief, pain and loss, but the magnificent memorial appeared to have immortalized their memory for the living to see.
Immediately after the President, beloved next of kin of fallen War Heroes lined up wailing and paid their respect to the memory of their beloved ones as all the names of those War Heroes remain engraved. They knelt down at the foot of the monument and went on shedding tears while laying bouquets of fragrant flowers. It was a solemn moment of memory, replete with emotions.
Next, sounded the Last Post honouring their memory in to match with military traditions. Trumpeters of Tri-services and the Police joined together to play the melody. As dusk was falling, the Reveille sounded, marking the culmination of the formal ceremony.
Ministers and MPs including, Governors, Ariya Bandara Rekawa and K.C. Logeswaran, the Chief Minister Dharmasiri Dasanayake, former Deputy Minister Shantha Bandara and Mrs Anoma Fonseka, Chairperson, Ranaviru Seva Authority participated in the solemn ceremony.
The new monument has been established to replace the displaced old monument following the widening of the previous monument along Kurunegala-Dambulla main road. Under the guidance of the North-Western Provincial Council, the Road Development Authority and Ranaviru Seva Authority erected this monument near the Maligapitiya Ground, Kurunegala.
All the construction works of the memorial were carried out by the Sri Lanka Engineers (SLE) of the Sri Lanka Army.
This war memorial displays all the names of the War Heroes of the North-Western Province who sacrificed their lives to protect the motherland. The entire project has been completed at a cost of Rs 27 million.
Even though the previous war memorial was removed clearly to acquire the space needed for the road development project, a section of agitators attempted to give a political interpretation to its displacement stating that the government has forgotten the War Heroes and started to remove their statues.
When the President visited Kurunegala to attend a ceremony on August 2016 promised to establish a more creative War Heroes’ memorial at that place. The foundation stone for this new war memorial was laid on November 30, 2016.
According to the President’s Media Unit, President Sirisena addressing the gathering said that the present government at any time did not work towards to condemn the War Heroes but always tries to ensure their rights as well as to offer the honour of the nation.
The President emphasized that he rejects all the accusations towards the government regarding War Heroes and said that all these statements are meant to make the government uncomfortable.
Even though the government is accused of soldier victimization, the real soldier victimization occurred during the past regime. The present government fulfils its responsibilities with the support of the international cooperation to secure the pride of the soldiers, the President has said.
On the same occasion, the Provincial Minister of Co-operative Development Piyasiri Ramanayake presented the cheque of financial donation made by the North-Western Province Co-operative members through the War Heroes’ Welfare Fund to build the War Heroes Memorial to the President. The President in turn handed it over to the North-Western Province Chief Secretary, G.B.M. Sirisena.
The Chief Minister of North Western Province Dharmasiri Dasanayake presented a replica of the new monument to the President at the ceremony.