02nd April 2016 04:05:47 Hours
The landmark 135th Anniversary of the Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force (SLAVF), which has a proud history of unparalleled achievements both in the professional sphere and battlefield marked its birthday this morning (1 April) presenting a military salute to the Commandant Major General Channa Goonetilleke during a colourful parade, comprised of symbolic squads from all SLAVF Regiments.
This year’s commemorative Anniversary arrangements got underway beginning March 26 with an island-wide tree planting campaign in which more than 13500 rare tree saplings were planted with the coordination of all respective SLAVF formations round the country.
On Wednesday (30) the religious segment of the Anniversary arrangements began with an all-night Pirith chanting ceremony where prominent Buddhist monks invoked blessings on the SLAVF and the Army, followed by an alms-giving the following day.
Major General Channa Goonetilleke, SLAVF Commandant together with all senior officers and other rankers participated in the meritorious ceremony, in which the SLAVF Commandant carried the relic casket and formally invited the monks for chanting in keeping with ancient traditions.
The monks for chanting were conducted in a colourful pageant before the Chief Monk delivered the main Anusasana (oration).
This morning’s (1) military ceremony got to a start with the arrival of the day’s Chief Guest, Major General Channa Goonetilleke who was greeted to a Guard Turnout at the Kosgama SLAVF Headquarters premises after he was warmly welcomed by the SLAVF Centre Commandant. An elegant Guard of Honour that followed afterwards presented arms and saluted the day’s Chief Guest.
The parade which was coloured with the participation of all Regimental squads was commanded by Colonel S.B Kohona. The parade was reviewed by the Chief Guest in the company of the Parade Commander before he took the salute.
The day’s programme culminated with a customary troops address.
Here follows the summary of his address to the occasion;
“The Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force celebrates a historic milestone; The 135th Anniversary. This is a momentous occasion that compels me to ponder over the long and solemn history of the organization. The past 135 years are made up of several unique eras that bear their own significance in the evolution of the Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force. Nevertheless certain characteristics of the Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force stand out throughout its long history.
Foremost among them is Leadership. Officers of the Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force have displayed exceptional leadership at times transcending beyond the military. Prime Ministers, Defence Ministers and several Ministers and Members of Parliament who rose through the ranks of the Volunteer Force is testimony to this feature. Officers and men of the Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force have also displayed a high degree of fighting spirit and valour throughout its history. They have won laurels for their role in the Boer War in South Africa, fought well in the Suez Canal region and Mesopotamia during World War 1 and fought in South East Asia during World War 2 in the Burma Front. The Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force engaged in counter insurgency operations during the several insurrections that erupted post proclamation of the Republic of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force emerged as an equal partner of the Regular Force of the Sri Lanka Army in its success in defeating terrorism in May 2009. The Organization has traversed efficiently between conflict and peace exercising a great deal of adaptability. The Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force has been unwavering in its service to the Nation throughout its existence.
There have been many who contributed towards the evolution of the Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force to what it is today. Some of them have made the supreme sacrifice answering the call of duty. Some of them have fought valiantly and been injured in battle or gone missing in action. The rest have served with dedication and commitment for the progress of the organization throughout their career.
It is incumbent upon the present generation of volunteers to carry the Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force in to the future to complement the Sri Lanka Army as a knowledge based technologically driven professional force.”