13th March 2018 20:09:07 Hours
Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI) Regiment, the oldest Regiment in the Sri Lanka Army, which has hitherto produced the most number of senior military officers bade farewell to one of its most illustrious and distinguished military icons, Major General Amal Karunasekara, Chief of Staff and Colonel of the Regiment, SLLI during a fitting military ceremony at the SLLI Headquarters, Panagoda on Wednesday (13).
Major General Karunasekera in his exemplary career of 36 years of service unhindered and unblemished made both the SLLI and the Army proud, having served in a variety of staff appointments after he joined the Sri Lanka Army as a Cadet Officer in the year 1981. He relinquishes his duties and retires from service, effective from today (March 13).
On arrival at the SLLI parade ground, he reviewed the Guard Turn Out, presented in his honour soon after he was greeted by the SLLI Centre Commandant, Brigadier M.M Kithsiri before he was warmly welcomed by Major General Ruwan Kulatunga, Commandant, Defence Service Command and Staff College (DSCSC) who was just appointed as the new Colonel of the Regiment, SLLI.
The outgoing second most high ranking officer in the organization was subsequently invited to the special dais to receive the salute in the Guard of Honour, presented by his own troops and the Regimental mascot, ‘Kandula,’ a pet whom he loved most during his service in the Regiment. The rest of the military formalities for Major General Karunasekera who succeeded in reaching the apex of his military career as a battle-hardened officer par excellence followed afterwards.
The string of melodies that reverberated as he marched past, taking the salute, together with the Parade Commander visibly added sentimental and patriotic value as well as the grandeur to the occasion, reminiscent of his tireless dedication and commitment to the cause during his military career of exemplary nature.
SLLI troops and Regimental Headquarters surroundings that were so dear and near to his heart, formed up a little later at the parade ground to listen to their colossus who was also the former Colonel of the Regiment and someone who rendered an unmatched service to the Regiment during all those years.
In a moving farewell address, the day's protagonist outlined how he strived for the betterment of the SLLI and its infantrymen who have done exceptionally well in the recently-concluded battles for defence of the motherland and elsewhere across the island in times of emergencies. Despite inclement weather, the outgoing Chief of Staff did not also forget to pay his tribute to the SLLI War Monument of special architecture in a solemn moment of recollections.
As the day's ceremony was drawing to a close, memories were made eternal after the day’s Chief Guest was invited to pose for a group photograph with all those who were present at the farewell parade.
Reminding all of them the unwavering importance of the much-revered SLLI motto, ‘I Serve’ (Ich Dien), Major General Amal Karunasekara shook hands with a representative gathering of Officers and Other Rankers lined up there before his departure from the SLLI Regimental Headquarters premises which remained his second home for well over 36 years.