10th October 2017 00:00:23 Hours
The pride of the Nation, Sri Lanka Army that boasts unmatched achievements and held in high esteem as the country’s most invaluable defenders turns 68 years of age on Tuesday (October 10) which is also named as the Army Day.
With its humble beginnings as then 'Ceylon Army' in the year 1949, and later changed to be called the Sri Lanka Army since 1972 after the country became a Republic, its eventful life-span of 68 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 so many valiant Army War Heroes as well as innocent civilians.
The world was taken by surprise over Sri Lanka’s success against the most-feared terrorist megalomaniac and restoration of peace. 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 terrorism from a country.
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.
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.
A ceremonial parade to commemorate the Army Day (10), salutes Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army on Tuesday (10) at the Army Cantonment in Panagoda in a special Guard of Honour, greeting him as the Chief Guest and the Head of the organization.
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.
Its achievements in the field of sports are of national and international importance and outstanding. It was evident in many international events too, including the most recent Paralympics. In fact, 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.
In his 68th 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 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;
The Sri Lanka Army as a victorious Army, which vanquished one of the most ruthless terrorist outfits that plagued our motherland for more than three decades turns 68 years today (October 10). In this backdrop, I take great pride and pleasure in issuing this message of greetings in commemoration of the 68th Army Day of the Sri Lanka Army.
The Sri Lanka Army, since its inception has made an unparalleled contribution to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the motherland and bring stability to the Nation. Loyalty, commitment, dedication, professionalism and discipline displayed by Army personnel stand as key components of the reputation that has been hitherto earned by the Army over the years. The commendable service rendered by the members of the Army has brought about sustainable peace and prosperity to the Nation. Prompt assistance and speedy contribution, extended all the time to mitigate natural disasters and bring normalcy to society is also a matter to be acknowledged with sincere gratitude.
I take this opportunity to pay my tribute to all those who have accepted the call for duty to serve the Motherland and made the supreme sacrifice, suffered injuries and are still recovering from injuries. Moreover, the commitment and perseverance of past Commanders of the Army, all the Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, civil employees and their family members to elevate the standards of the organization to greater heights are truly admirable.
On this special occasion of significance, I wish to place on record my sincere gratitude to His Excellency the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Maithripala Sirisena, Hon. Ruwan Wijewardene, State Minister of Defence and Mr Kapila Waidyarathne (P.C), Secretary to the Ministry of Defence for the visionary leadership and guidance being given to the Sri Lanka Army to march forward as a professional entity.
In the present context where our country is enjoying unprecedented peace and moving towards development, it is our prime responsibility to be the service-providers of the citizenry whenever deemed necessary. Keeping national security concerns closer to our hearts, all necessary measures have to be adopted in the future as Defenders of the Nation to bestow the value of hard won peace to our next generations.
In achieving this noble cause, I urge all members of the Army to maintain high degree of discipline, effectiveness, professionalism and oneness whilst being steadfastly loyal to the Nation.
As the Army is in the process of transforming to be a capacity-based one, all Army personnel should be professional, agile and models to provide assistance for acceleration of development initiatives of the State whilst actively contributing to strengthen reconciliatory moves and promote economic, social and cultural values of the country. I firmly believe that you all would continue to perform your duties with utmost commitment and dedication, through which the Army would be able to maintain the good and reputed image which has received international recognition, too.
The exceptional contribution made by Men and Women in uniform would never go unnoticed. In appreciation of their invaluable services, current welfare programmes will be further strengthened with new additions and initiatives. This would certainly be a moral boost to all Army personnel for discharge of their duties to the optimum.
I wish to, once again, thank all the Officers, Other Ranks and Civil Staff for the yeoman service and contribution they have made for sustenance of peace and security in our motherland. I take this opportunity to wish you all the best in all your future endeavours!