17th December 2017 19:35:38 Hours
The Sri Lanka Military Academy (SLMA) at Diyatalawa wore ceremonial garbs one more time on Sunday (17) and adorned the shoulders of 191 more brave sons and daughters of the country with insignia of the President’s Commission when they proudly passed out in a glittering spectacle after completion of their military training amidst greetings and best wishes.
The day’s itinerary commenced with the arrival of the Chief Guest, HE the President Maithripala Sirisena, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces was accorded a drive past Guard Turnout at the entrance to the SLMA premises.
Afterwards, HE the President was invited to the SLMA War Memorial for wreath-laying in the company of the Secretary Defence, Mr Kapila Waidyarathne PC, Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake and SLMA, Commandant, Brigadier Priyantha Senaratne before the Parade honoured the President in conformity with military traditions.
The Passing out Parade (PoP) ceremony of those 191 Officer Cadets of the Intake 84 (50), Intake 84 B (112) including the Volunteer Intake 57 ‘A’ (3), Kotelawala Defence University (106) and People’s Liberation Army Academy, China (3), Lady Intake 15 (19) and Lady Volunteer Intake 14 (10) was dignified by the presence of HE the President.
Not forgetful of invaluable past sacrifices of fallen War Heroes, the Chief Guest for the occasion laid a floral tribute to the SLMA war memorial in the premises at first and paid his solemn respect to their memory after he was warmly received by the Commander of the Army on arrival at the main entrance to the SLMA, together with the SLMA Commandant, Brigadier Priyantha Senarathne.
As the Chief Guest was entering the parade square, precisely by 9.00 a.m., colourfully-dressed Army bands with their rhythmic beats and associated formalities, heralded the formal inauguration of the most central segment of the commissioning ceremony where new Cadet Officers, were to receive their swords from the day’s Chief Guest, HE the President Maithripala Sirisena, Mr Kapila Waidyarathne PC, Secretary Defence and the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake symbolizing the official commissioning.
The climax of the day’s event afterwards began with the award of commissioning swords to the Cadet Officers by the Chief Guest before the salute from the new graduates in the colourful parade was received.
The parade, commanded by Major H.R.A.J.K.K Basnayake of the SLLI, together with Captain R.W.S.W.M.N.R.N.D Samarakoon of the VIR as the Parade’s Second in Command and Academy Sergeant Major (ASM), Warrant Officer 1 W.B.N.S Mendis of the SLCMP was staged in a spectacular setting with gentle breeze and surrounding mountains.
Battalion Under Officer, S.D.P.D Premarathne of Intake 84, Company Under Officer, R.M.P.V.B Illukkumbura of Intake 84 B, Platoon Under Officer, I.A.K Indurage of Lady Intake 15 and Platoon Under Officer, M.G.L Gunarathne of Lady Intake 14 (volunteer) were then awarded the First in Order of Merits for achieving the highest aggregate marks in their respective Intakes.
Those Cadet Officers who underwent the SLMA training upon receipt of their commissions in the formal PoP will take up duties around the country to serve as dedicated sons and defenders of the nation, ‘Rata Rakina Jathiya’ (RRJ).
A brief address by the Chief Guest to the occasion a few minutes later culminated the first leg of the day’s ceremony.
The President told the gathering that he would do everything possible to make the Sri Lankan Armed Forces one of the best in the world in future. “I very well remember how the Sri Lanka Army has been offering their humanitarian services whenever natural disasters and other catastrophes including the Tsunami struck the nation. Ours is a world-recognized Army which has earned respect and dignity. You can also now be a member of this proud organization to serve your motherland”.
All the graduates had the rare distinction of posing for a group photograph with the Chief Guest, HE the President and the Commander of the Army on the same occasion.
During a parallel ceremony, held at the SLMA gymnasium after the main parade was over, showing his high regard for the occasion HE the President Maithripala Sirisena for the first time, together with Secretary Defence, Commander of the Army, SLMA Commandant, parents of the newly Commissioned Officers, joined the adorning of the shoulders of those brave graduates with the insignia of the President's Commissions, the highest honours they could receive.
SLMA added memories to the President’s visit to the SLMA by presenting him with a special memento. Brigadier Priyantha Senarathne, SLMA, Commandant made the symbolic gesture.
Before his departure from the SLMA premises, he left his signature in the Visitors' Book at the SLMA Cadet Mess.
The day prior to the main ceremony, the formal final presentation of those undergraduates occurred at the ‘Colonel A.F Lafir’ memorial auditorium in the presence of the Secretary Defence and the Commander of the Army.
The final presentation of those Cadet Officers covered the theme, ‘Reforming the Sri Lanka Army in order to face future challenges’.
The festive environment took the form of an academic forum after an added feature got underway with the release of the SLMA book, ‘The Recurrence and Intensity of Natural Disasters Have a Devastating Impact on World Peace Security Role of Armed Forces’, a compendium of research findings.
The first copy of the new book was afterwards presented to the Secretary Defence and the Commander of the Army by the SLMA Commandant, bringing the brief ceremony to an end Saturday (16) evening.
The final Commissioning Dinner of Sunday’s (17) Passing out Parade with regalia were to kick off at the Officer Cadets’ Mess with the Commander of the Army as the Chief Guest, taking the centre-stage at the head table.
Mrs Shalini Waidyaratne, Chairperson, Ministry of Defence - Seva Vanitha Unit (MoD-SVU), together with Mrs Chandrika Senanayake, President, Army Seva Vanitha Unit were also among the invitees.
Senior tri-service Officers, distinguished invitees, parents and well-wishers, relatives of Cadet Officers witnessed the day’s main highlights.