Sri Lanka Army

Defenders of the Nation

Commander Graces as Chief Guest at SLLI's Colours Awarding Ceremony

Sri Lanka Light Infantry Regiment (SLLI), the oldest Regiment in the Army which also has hitherto rendered a unique contribution towards defence of the motherland since its inception in 1881, had its glittering ‘Colours Night’ Tuesday (26) evening where 145 SLLI veterans received laurels for their achievements in the field of sports.

The SLLI with its renowned ‘I serve’ motto is the only Regiment that has a pachyderm as its mascot since the year 1961    who was also recently accorded a symbolic Guard of Honour, in appreciation of its service to the Regiment as Kandula VII.

The SLLI ‘Colours Night’ commenced soon after the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Chief Guest for the ceremony, accompanied by his spouse, Mrs Manjulika Jayasuriya, President Seva Vanitha Army Branch arrived at the venue, National Youth Council, Maharagama.

Major General R.M Daya Ratnayake, Colonel of the SLLI Regiment and Mrs Damayanthi Ratnayake warmly received the Commander and his spouse on arrival and conducted them to the auditorium.

The brief history presented at the commencement of the proceedings of the ‘Colours Night’ held after a lapse of seven years summed up the SLLI’s achievements in the past 130 years of its founding. During Tuesday (26) evening’s ‘Colours Night’, 13 officers and 171 other ranks in the SLLI Regiment as well as other SLLI officers and other ranks who could not receive colours at the recent ‘Army Colours Night’ received their laurels Tuesday (26).

The formal ceremony commenced with lighting of the traditional oil lamp by the Chief Guest and a host of distinguished senior Army officers currently serving or otherwise, including the former Commander of the Army General (Retd) S.H.S Kottegoda. Observance of a two-minute silence to recall the memories of fallen SLLI and other War Heroes followed the Regimental song.

Major General R.M Daya Ratnayake, Colonel of the SLLI Regiment made the formal welcome address as the stage was preparing for the first few segments of the award ceremony.

Afterwards, amidst patriotic melodies, Sergeant G.A.S Amarasinghe 7 SLLI, the Best Disable Sportsman - 2010 as well as Lance Corporal R.D.J Siriwardana, the Best Sportsman - 2010 received colours from the Chief Guest, Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya as the audience burst into a round of applause. Lieutenant General Jayasuriya addressed the gathering for a few minutes and hailed the efforts of the SLLI Regiment for the recommencement of the annual Colours Night. (See below for excerpts)

Major General R.M Daya Ratnayake, Colonel of the SLLI Regiment, Major General D.R.A.B Jayathilake, Commandant, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force and General (Retd) S.H.S Kottegoda, former Commander of the Army awarded the Colours to recipients before the Chief Guest.

Major General R.M Daya Ratnayake, Colonel of the SLLI Regiment, symbolizing the SLLI Regiment’s gratitude to the Commander of the Army for his gracious presence on the occasion presented a memento to the Chief Guest at the end of the ceremony.

Curtains fell with the vote of thanks proposed by Major General Amal Karunasekara, General Officer Commanding, 53 Division. Many entertaining features choreographed by veteran artists in the island coloured the entire programme throughout.

Here is the summary of the Commander’s speech on the occasion. 
‘After the decisive victory against terrorism in 2009, the Army has been able to pay more attention to the field of sports, bringing the ancient glory we have had.

An Army soldier, in addition to his professional output, receives more to his life through sports because you practise sports in order to further shine in your career.

While facing challenges, you must become more and more stronger and enhance your commitment towards the country. The entire Army will receive reputation when you win today. As a sportsman, while playing as a group in a collective manner, you must infuse discipline into your heart. It is the discipline that brings the biggest credit to the Army.

The entire country knows how we all, as members of an army performed our duties during the humanitarian operations while upholding highest tenets of discipline and human rights. Time has dawned for War Heroes in the Army to show more and more talents in the field of sports in the future. I wish Army sportsmen be also able to participate in the forthcoming Commonwealth Games 2018 in Hambantota.’