23rd October 2017 16:29:41 Hours
Colombo Ananda College this morning (23), in a rare gesture of appreciation, hailed one of its great sons of Sri Lanka, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army in a fitting ceremony, coloured by a large gathering of Lieutenant General Senanayake’s classmates, contemporaries, retired principals, teachers, serving and retired tri-service Officers and invitees.
The brief but the dignified felicitation ceremony, complemented by military honours, presented by Ananda College Scouts and Cadets honoured the visiting old Anandian who has made his alma mater proud and reputed by reaching the apex of the Army command as the 22nd Commander of the Army.
Around the entrance premises, a street-line honour, presented by scouts at Ananda College saluted him before he was invited to inspect the Guard of Honour, staged by the Cadet platoon in the College after the Commander of the Army was welcomed by the Principal, Mr S. M. Keerthirathna and the Head Prefect on arrival at the main entrance to the College, together with several Anandians of the 1975 - 1980 group.
A little later, the day’s Chief Guest, reminiscent of numerous acts of gallantry and supreme sacrifices that have been made by Ananda College-produced War Heroes of our contemporary times, revered their memory by laying a floral wreath at the War Hero memorial in the College and added dignity and solemnity to the day’s event.
The subsequent felicitation ceremony that got underway at Kularatne Hall with a packed audience invited the Commander to make a few words on the occasion.
“The vigour and the essence of life, imparted to me during my schooling at Ananda College provided me with the stimulus to reach the apex of my military career to become the Commander of the Army, for which I am indebted to my teachers and principals forever. Let me also salute the memory of all military Officers, gifted by our College to the Nation. The College trained us for extracurricular work in addition to our academic work and moulded our character all the time. Through cadetship in the College, we learnt to be well-disciplined, exemplary, and courageous all the time, and it was this Cadetship training that encouraged me to serve the country as an Army Officer,” he said.
“During my schooling, there lived a colossus whom we cannot forget in our life-time. It was none other than Colonel G.W Rajapaksa, the most respected teacher of our times. It was he who foresaw my future and persuaded me to pursue the military career after requesting my parents to do so. Even to-date, I really cannot figure out as to how this great Guru prophesied about my future in such a precise manner. I recall the memories of my great teachers at this moment of history and let me pay my humble tribute to all who stood behind me and wished for my life prospects. The success you achieve following given targets should go beyond and do the most right thing for the betterment of the society. I pay tribute to all of you for being here to felicitate me and I sincerely believe my beloved College would continue to produce more and more virtuous and well educated leaders to this Nation in future, too. I thank all of you and the organizers,” the Commander concluded.
Towards the end of the ceremony, the Principal presented an appreciative memento to the Commander of the Army on behalf of the entire tutorial staff and students. The gesture was reciprocated.
During his stay in the College premises, the Commander mingled with several of his past teachers who were present in the ceremony and paid his obeisance to them. He also posed for group photos with them, old Anandians, classmates and others in the College before his departure from the premises.