19th May 2018 21:58:16 Hours
"Nine years have passed by 19 May 2018 since the eradication of terrorism from our soil. I firmly believe the freedom thus gained should be shared not by exaggerated glorification or through mere rhetoric and hyperbole but by showing our sentiments of deep gratitude to fallen Tri Service, Police, Civil Security Department members and civilians who rooted terrorism out. Great War Heroes, pertinent to mention here, must not therefore be manipulated to serve narrow objectives and personal agendas, nor should they be incited to resort to emotional and anti-social acts," states a message of tribute, issued by the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake in connection with the National War Heroes' Day (May 19).
Here follows the full text of his commemorative message;
Tribute to War Heroes Who Defended the Motherland
The LTTE organization which saw its birth in 1983 as a minor group grew to be one of the most ruthless terrorist organizations in the world by the year 2009. LTTE organization, equipped with infantry, fire-power, naval strength and a certain degree of air power gained world-wide notoriety as the terrorist group which inducted the 'suicide bomb' concept to the world.
The unfailing commitment, tireless dedication, bravery and courage as well as proper planning of Army, Navy and Air Force members enabled them to rescue thousands of innocent Tamil civilians, used as human shields and win over the LTTE which has by then taken to a cycle of terrorism with the support of the international Diaspora for creation of an Eelam state. Accordingly, terrorism was completely eradicated on 19 May 2009 after capturing the last patch of land, held by terrorists. Towards it, Sri Lanka Police and Civil Security Department also made an invaluable contribution.
War Heroes of the Army (23,962), Navy (1160), Air Force (443), together with 2598 Policemen and 456 Civil Security Department members made the supreme sacrifice in defence of the Motherland, thus enabling all Sri Lankans to enjoy the present day's spirits of freedom. All of them sacrificed their tomorrow for our today while defending the sovereignty, territorial integrity and the unitary status of Sri Lanka. Likewise, the selfless contribution and sacrifices made by all Sri Lankans who were under threat of LTTE terrorism for 30 years is worth recalling here. Not only that, all Sri Lankans as of today lead their lives freely, thanks to the fulfillment of timely responsibilities of our political leadership.
Nine years have passed by 19 May 2018 since the eradication of terrorism from our soil. I firmly believe the freedom thus gained should be shared not by exaggerated glorification or through mere rhetoric and hyperbole but by showing our sentiments of deep gratitude to fallen Tri Service, Police, Civil Security Department members and civilians who rooted terrorism out. Great War Heroes, pertinent to mention here, must not therefore be manipulated to serve narrow objectives and personal agendas, nor should they be incited to resort to emotional and anti-social acts.
Sri Lanka Army in order to pay tribute and commemorate fallen War Heroes has launched a special programme. Accordingly, religious observances in commemoration of them have been organized at all regimental formations, followed by reading of my special message of tribute. Besides, National War Heroes' Day commemoration, headed by HE the President Maithripala Sirisena, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces will take place on Saturday (19) at the National War Heroes' Monument in Battaramulla, followed by a mega Army-supported 'Aaloka Pooja' Pinkama, the same evening at the historic Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya premises.
Many numbers of fearless War Heroes during the course of 30 years sacrificed their valuable lives, sweat and blood to decide on our future. They all sighed their last breath to the air on that day, expecting ever-lasting bonds of peace and reconciliation would prevail. They would ever never have wished the recurrence of a war even in a dream during their cycle of future births. Therefore, as envisaged by them in the past, we should pursue wisely, avoid recurrence of any war at all and preserve hard-earned freedom for generations, still to be born.
At this moment, I wish all brave War Heroes who sacrificed their lives for protection of the country's unitary status and precious lives of the general public attain supreme bliss of Nibbhana. Similarly, let me wish speedy recovery to all differently able War Heroes still under recuperation and medical treatment. Not only that, I take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to all spouses, children, parents, next of kin of gallant War Heroes and neighbours for their invaluable dedication and sacrifice while we, as brave members of the Army, were leading in the battlefields. (Ends)