09th October 2018 22:40:33 Hours
Sri Lanka Army, the pride of the Nation that boasts unmatched achievements and is held in high esteem as the country’s most sought service provider and the invaluable Defender of the Nation turns 69 years of age on Wednesday (October 10) which is also named as the ‘Army Day’.
With its humble beginnings as then 'Ceylon Army' in the year 1949, and later since 1972 changed to be called the Sri Lanka Army after the country became a Republic, its eventful life-span of 69 years records numerous and invaluable milestones unparalleled and unheard in the annals of contemporary military history in Sri Lanka or elsewhere.
Its glory and professional warfare skills reached its zenith in May 2009, sending shock waves across the globe, subsequent to its unique eradication of Sri Lanka's long-drawn ruthless terrorism once for all, which had by then claimed the precious lives of hundreds of valiant Army War Heroes as well as thousands of innocent civilians.
The world was taken by surprise over Sri Lanka’s striking success against the most-feared terrorist megalomaniac and its skills in restoration of peace prospects. The Army was showered with accolades and laurels from worldwide counterparts as it was the only organization in contemporary times that succeeded in wiping out most-feared terrorism from a country.
Stunning battlefield supremacy of the Army, together with other sister services against the world's most dreaded terrorists, which won the respect and admiration from all walks of life, carved a niche for itself in the military history and qualified it to be not second to any other armed force in the world.
Today with its 24 Regiments, the Sri Lanka Army has proved to be the most visibly result-oriented organization in the country while performing commendable community services in every corner of the island, majority of which are in the war-affected north and east. Its technical prowess remains a beacon of hope as the country is fast on the road to development and recovery.
A ceremonial parade to commemorate the Army anniversary salutes Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army at the Army Cantonment in Panagoda in a special Guard of Honour, greeting him as the Chief Guest and the Head of the organization. This year it will take place on Thursday (18) due to adverse weather conditions.
The Army, now a full-fledged organization of admiration has devoted its entire weight behind realization of the government’s development roles and tasks in an impressive manner. Army Engineers are into housing, community services, construction industry, national disasters, Dengue eradication programmes, health promotion projects, humanitarian assistance and so many other spheres at the request of various state and private sector requirements. The ongoing renovation of near 2000 rural tanks in Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa districts and in the Wellassa region is among one of the distinguished national projects.
Its achievements in the field of sports are equally of national and international importance and outstanding. It was evident in many international events too, including the most recent Paralympics. To its credit, the Army has become the country’s most leading state organization that produces the most number of athletes, sportsmen and women to the national pool.
The Army entering into a new sphere of training and right-sizing to meet with specific needs of modern times and any defence challenges that may come up has broadened its training scope and entry into international modules in the past few years. Likewise, its contribution to UN Peacekeeping has come in for praise.
Similarly, the Army’s conduct of the annual Defence Seminar, Exercise – Cormorant Strike, Mithra Shakthi Exercise, Defence Dialogues, Army to Army Talks, exchange programmes, etc has earned recognition and fame at international level.
Intending to inspire and stimulate innovative skills, the Army is now embarked on exploring hidden creative talents of Army personnel by organizing exhibitions and providing such expertise to the national growth
In his 69th Army Anniversary Day message, the Commander says the Sri Lankan soldiers should be professional and agile to provide assistance to accelerate development initiatives of the State as a Strategic Corporal while actively contributing to strengthen reconciliation measures and preserve economic, social and cultural values of the country.
Here follows the Commander’s Message in full;